Northern Ireland: Amnesty International urges answers in Martin O’Hagan investigation, 21 years after murder of journalist

Call for publication of Police Ombudsman investigation, 21 years after brutal murder

‘The authorities’ failure to bring Martin O’Hagan’s killers to justice has fed into a climate of fear for journalists in Northern Ireland’ – Patrick Corrigan

The failure to bring to justice those responsible for the murder of Martin O’Hagan has helped create a climate of fear for journalists in Northern Ireland, Amnesty International has said on the eve of the twenty-first anniversary of the killing of the Sunday World reporter.

On September 28 2001, Sunday World journalist Martin O’Hagan was shot dead in Lurgan by members of an illegal paramilitary group. To this day, no one has been held to account for his brutal murder. 

Amnesty has backed National Union of Journalists (NUJ) calls for a fresh investigation into the killing.

Journalists in Northern Ireland, particularly those covering activities by paramilitary and organised crime groups, are regularly subject to threats of violence.

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director, said:

“The authorities’ failure to bring Martin O’Hagan’s killers to justice has fed into a climate of fear for journalists in Northern Ireland.

“There is little confidence in a PSNI-led investigation as it’s long been suspected that Martin’s killers were protected by the PSNI because some of those who carried out this murder were paid police informers.

“We’re calling on the Police Ombudsman to publish the report of her long-running investigation into the failed police probe, a move which may finally provide some answers for the O’Hagan family into why the killers have gone unpunished all these years.

“Press freedom is the cornerstone of any rights-respecting society and we must ensure the authorities guard it closely and are called to account if they fail to do so.”

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