Rosemary Nelson Web Protest Campaign

Edward C. Whyte (
Mon, 29 Mar 1999 16:17:58 +0200

**Apologies in advance to anyone who receives double copies of this
press release.

From: Rosemary Nelson Memorial Protest Campaign

Subject: Rosemary Nelson Memorial Protest Campaign launches world-wide
petition drive.

March 29, 1999: Today the Rosemary Nelson Memorial Protest Campaign
launched a web site ( and petition drive,
in support of international calls for the Royal Ulster Constabulary
(RUC) to be removed from the investigation of the murder of the defence
attorney and human rights advocate. Mrs. Nelson, 40, was killed on March
15, 1999 when a bomb exploded beneath her car. A loyalist paramilitary
organisation, the Red Hand Defenders, has claimed responsibility for her

Last autumn Mrs. Nelson gave testimony before the U.S. Congress on the
difficulties faced by defence attorneys in Northern Ireland. She told
them of intimidation and harassment suffered at the hands of the police
and security forces. She told them of death threats that she had
received from the RUC. In his 1998 report, U.N. Special Rapporteur Param
Cumaraswamy stated that the "RUC has engaged in activities which
constitute intimidation, hindrance, harassment and improper
interference," a conclusion reached in part due to Mrs. Nelson's
testimony. In addition, a senior officer of the London Metropolitan
Police was assigned to complete an investigation into her allegations of
intimidation, after the Independent Commission for Police Complaints
found the initial investigation done by the RUC unsatisfactory.

In light of these circumstances, the Campaign does not believe that the
RUC can ensure a thorough and impartial investigation. Through this
petition drive the Campaign hopes to convince the British government to
institute the following:

* An independent international inquiry into the killing of Rosemary
Nelson. It is the Campaigns' belief that supervision of an RUC
investigation by the Chief Constable of the Kent Police Department, with
input from the FBI on forensic matters, does not constitute such an

* An independent international inquiry into the killing of Patrick
Finucane, a defence attorney murdered in 1989. Police and security force
collusion was alleged in his death, to which Mrs. Nelson's bears
striking similarities. Results of the investigation have not been
publicised. Another internal investigation, whose results would again be
kept from the public, is unacceptable.

* An independent international inquiry into the ongoing allegations of
police intimidation and harassment of attorneys in Northern Ireland.

Individuals interested in signing the petition or learning more about
Mrs. Nelson can find the site at ( Names
can be included on the petition by filling out a form at the site, or
emailing their name to the coordinators. The Campaign coordinators have
also created a web site specifically for members of the legal profession
at ( and will be focusing a
significant part of their efforts on obtaining signatures from attorneys
who specialise in criminal defence or civil/human rights cases. "She
was their colleague regardless of where she practised, and we hope they
understand how much we need their support. It could just as easily have
been any one of them," stated one coordinator.