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UK: Government attacks on human rights lawyers are putting them in ‘serious’ danger

'The legal profession plays a crucial role in upholding the rule of law and defending human rights for everyone in this country.' © Steve Calcott

Prominent international human rights lawyer, Caoilfhionn Gallagher has received death threats including one saying she will be murdered like Pat Finucane

Amnesty urges ministers to step back from the irresponsible verbal attacks on lawyers and judges

‘We fear reckless rhetoric from government ministers is putting a target on the backs of lawyers. In Northern Ireland, we have seen where such dangerous talk can lead’ - Patrick Corrigan

Amnesty International is calling on UK government ministers to step back from rhetoric attacking lawyers and judges after a prominent London-based Irish barrister reported receiving death threats in recent weeks.

Caoilfhionn Gallagher, a senior barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, says an unknown individual had been sending photographs of her and suggesting she will be murdered like Pat Finucane, who was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries at his home in 1989.

Speaking at an event in Dublin to mark the awarding of the Sakharov Prize to the Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, Ms Gallagher also revealed she had been attacked at her chambers in London.

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International UK’s Head of Nations and Regions, said:

“We are deeply concerned at these serious threats against Caoilfhionn Gallagher and other lawyers. 

“Sadly, we fear that reckless rhetoric from government ministers is putting a target on the backs of lawyers. In Northern Ireland, we have seen where such dangerous talk can lead.

“The legal profession plays a crucial role in upholding the rule of law and defending human rights for everyone in this country. Lawyers and judges should be defended, not attacked; we appeal to ministers to step back from the irresponsible verbal attacks to which they have been subjecting lawyers and judges in recent times.”

 

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