Saturday, March 14, 2015

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Requested in Triplicate.

Pauline Mellon pushes back against those seeking to limit the freedom to protest. Pauline Mellon is a rights activist and justice campaigner in the North West. She Blogs at The Diary of A Derry Mother.

Last night I felt saddened at having to miss the annual Rosemary Nelson Lecture due to personal commitments, the event took place in Conway Mill Belfast. The theme of this years event was Freedom of Expression which needless to say covers a broad range of issues both locally and internationally.

Freedom of expression to me is the right to express a view whether it be through protest, art or writing; that said it is open to further interpretation. These freedoms today are continually under threat with British laws becoming overly stringent and oppressive in their continuous attempts to curtail free assembly and the right to free speech.

Having finished off a piece of work today I decided to log into Facebook, I have to say I wish hadn't bothered. Without going into too much detail I came across a thread suggesting the need to request permission to hold a protest. Just to be clear this did not come from the Parades Commission this came from a social justice activist. To ensure my interpretation of what I was reading was correct I sought clarification only to be told that this was indeed the case.

If I’m honest this incident set me back years to a time when I allowed myself to be dictated to. A few years ago I had the sheer misfortune of meeting Ireland's answer to Bette Davis. Of all the people in Ireland it had to be me!!! This person through constant manipulation had me believing that protesting for her family member required her express permission and that the pleasure was indeed mine. Whilst this was a difficult period in my life it did teach me that no-one irrespective of their circumstances has the right to control you nor has anyone the right to expect you to seek permission to protest over human rights abuses. I personally believe it is incumbent on us all to battle injustice when and where we see it. Equally we must challenge any/ all attempts to control protest whether it be from the state or from other sources.

Freedom of expression is something that is very much under threat. In recent times you may have read the various statements surrounding the release of a song to highlight the plight of the Craigavon Two. The Craigavon Two are serving life sentences for the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll in 2009. The issue of the song has been quite controversial, so much so that some would say that prior to it's release it has already served it's purpose in highlighting the issue. Whilst I deeply sympathise with the wife of the late Constable Carroll, having read the court judgements I remain convinced that these two men are innocent as was the opinion of the late Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four who campaigned tirelessly on their behalf.

In law you often hear the phrase beyond reasonable doubt, this is when the probability the defendant committed the crime (based on the evidence) is equal or greater than the interpretation of beyond reasonable doubt. In the case of the Craigavon Two I would use the term beyond the belief of any reasonable and objective person with the two men serving life sentences on the word of a paid informant, circumstantial evidence and deleted data.

The recent appeal to have the men freed was later dismissed despite the evident holes in the case. The more concerning but not surprising aspects of the case stem from allegations of police harassment and interference, including the arrest of a witness for the defence and attempts to sully the professional integrity of the legal team involved in the case.

The case of the Craigavon Two exposes the malevolence and inbuilt weaknesses within the British justice system coupled with the failure of the PSNI to carry out a robust and comprehensive investigation into the Carroll killing. As a consequence the Craigavon Two, Brendan McConville and John Paul Wooton are languishing in prison cells with the law in this case favouring political expediency over truth and justice.

On March 15th at 7pm the aforementioned song will be available for download from, iTunes, Amazon & Google Play. Please download to show your opposition to this latest miscarriage of justice.


Anonymous said...

Great article as per usual Pauline! However the real threat isn't from the state! It's from republicans or allegedly republicans ! They have threatened the c2 group for not toeing their line! Last year I didn't kno the c2 this year I am campaigning among many many others in the USA! We have from reliable contacts in Ireland and Canada that members of the c2 have been threatened! If this true the state of freedom of speache is gone! I ask all people to support the c2 and its campaign group! Without them there will be no campaign!

God help us all!

marty said...

Methinks we are witnessing the birth of Quisling $inn £eind MK2 going going gone the sound of marching tramping feet with the shout of tiocfaidh ar la, more the click of heels and JAWOHL MEIN FUHRER... we should have learnt about giving unfettered support to any individual or unaccountable group once is a mistake .twice is criminal

Anonymous said...

Here what your saying Marty! At the sinners had some of the most intelligent and deceitful people on earth! This crowd don't seem to have an ounce of sense! Hiltler will be happy tho! If u don't like somebody lets have them gassed! I don't even think the Uda were this dumb, but that's right it can't be the same thing cz they had the Brits backing them! The Irish news statement was a joke ! I thought it was written by gusty spence reborn! Gusty lives !

Gerard. said...

There's an awful lot of threats about. I was reading 'Divis residents support team' on face book and they told of a distressed resident who had gone to them because CRJI were threatening to evict them. Here's what happened...

"Divis Residents' Support Team
March 12 at 6:16pm ·
Yesterday we the Divis Residents' Support Team were contacted by a distressed resident who were threatened with eviction from CRJI, this family asked us to advocate on their behalf.
We on behalf of this family formally wrote to this organisation (CRJI) aswel as HELM in order to get clarification on the matter.
One hour after the letter was delivered to CRJ, the paid worker from the Fall Residents Association and a prominent SInn FeIn member, called to our chairpersons home, on behalf of CRJI telling him to "keep out of their business" that "they were dealing with it", this was done in a threaten manner, he asked was he being threatened, when he was told yes you are now If you want to go down that road, go down it & again stay out off are business.
The Divis Residents support team is a fully constituted organisation who was elected in an open and transparent meeting with residents. Our chairperson is a well respected community activist who has work voluntary for the people of our community from a very young age, he comes from a family who have also worked voluntary to improve the quality of life of residents.
We will be writing to Harry Maguire who is the director of CRJI, the chairperson of the Falls residents association as well as local elected Sinn Fein reps who work in partnership with these organisation to request a separate meeting to clarify if our chairperson and his young family under threat from any of, or all off the above organisation.
We will also be writing to the funders of the Falls Residents association requesting a meeting to see if they fund a worker to go around threatening respected community activist.
We will contact The Andersonstown News & Irish news and will accept nothing other than a public statement from the above organisation clarify if he is under threat & if not do they condemn this threat."

pat murphy said...

Gerard,for us country folk what does CRJI stand for?

Gerard. said...

Pat, it stands for Community Restorative Justice Ireland. It's usually just refered to as CRJ.

AM said...


you comment is more than likely libellous. It will need altered substantially before we can carry it.

marty said...

Gerard leopards and spots spring to mind here,those "community workers" who are now ceasefire heroes can threaten all they like but it will only work when those threatened accept the threat my advice is face those bastards down in other words tell them to fuck of and those elected to work on behalf of the community not the paid lackeys should carry on,and keep all this in the public domain it is the last place those who like to threaten like to be seen.

Anonymous said...

Well the fact is the ira threatened human rights activists through the irish news! That's not a libel issue! Don't think mi5 do compensation!

AM said...

When you carry it on your own blog under your own name we will consider carrying it here