Gerry Adams Wins Appeal Against 1970s Jailbreak Convictions
Umer Jamshaid 3 months ago Wed 13th May 2020 | 04:28 PM
Former Irish republican leader Gerry Adams on Wednesday won an appeal at Britain's Supreme Court against two convictions dating back to the darkest days of the violence in Northern Ireland
London, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 13th May, 2020 ) :Former Irish republican leader Gerry Adams on Wednesday won an appeal at Britain's Supreme Court against two convictions dating back to the darkest days of the violence in Northern Ireland.
But he argued that his original detention in 1973, under the British government's controversial "internment" programme of holding terror suspects without trial, was invalid.
Instead, it was made by a more junior minister.
"The making of the ICO in respect of the appellant (Adams) was invalid. It follows that he was not detained lawfully," the judgement said.
"It further follows that he was wrongfully convicted of the offences of attempting to escape from lawful custody and his convictions for those offences must be quashed." Adams was detained under an order issued on July 21, 1973, on suspicion of involvement in spiralling unrest over Britain's control of Northern Ireland, which became known as The Troubles.
However, we were not on our own," he said in a statement.
"There is an onus on the British government to identify and inform other internees whose internment may also have been unlawful." Between 1971 and 1975 nearly 2,000 mainly republican prisoners were held without trial, according to Ulster University.
The policy is deeply controversial, and was often credited for stoking the bloodshed and bolstering support for the IRA.
"Internment, like all coercive measures, failed," Adams said on Wednesday.
Adams did not challenge his convictions at the time but acted following the release of previously classified government documents.
Adams was charged with IRA membership in 1978 but the case was dropped due to insufficient evidence.
He has always publicly denied being enrolled in the ranks of paramilitary leadership, despite repeated conflicting claims from movement insiders.
He was elected to the British parliament but declined to take up his seat under Sinn Fein's policy of abstention, in which representatives refused to swear loyalty to the British head of state.
The 1998 Good Friday peace agreement largely brought an end to the violence in Northern Ireland, setting up a power-sharing government in Belfast between republican and pro-British parties, including Sinn Fein.