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9 June 2005 Edition

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Amnesty urges judges to boycott Finucane inquiry

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has launched a campaign asking judges around the world not to take part in any restricted British Government inquiry into the killing of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane in 1989 under the new Inquiries Act 2005.

Amnesty says the act would allow the British Government to control any inquiry held under its terms and a final report would be published at the British Government's discretion.

Amnesty believes the terms of reference of the recently enacted Inquiries Act, imposed by the British Government, will block proper scrutiny into allegations of British collusion in the Finucane killing and that a number of British Intelligence agencies took part in the subsequent cover up.

Amnesty International director Kate Allen said that any judge who was willing to take part in such a limited inquiry would be taking part in a sham.

"By rushing through the Inquiries Act, the British Government has placed itself beyond public scrutiny and dealt a massive blow to any hopes of transparency in government," she said.

In April last year, it was revealed that under the new Act, British Government Ministers could decide who would be able to appear before the Finucane inquiry, what evidence could be heard in public and what information could be withheld from the inquiry.

Allen warned that the act would stifle the powers of any other inquiry to carry out proper investigations into controversial killings.

"The British Government will be able to control what the public finds out and what it doesn't," she concluded.


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