[Sinn Fein]

15th April 1999

Sinn Fein Welcomes U.S. Amendment

Sinn Fein Assembly member for Upper Bann, Dr Dara O'Hagan, has welcomed an amendment by Congressmen Chris Smith and Peter King which passed the US Congress House International Relations Committee which cuts off funding for US sponsored training and exchange programmes to the RUC unless President Clinton certifies that the British government has initiated independent investigations into the murders of human rights lawyers Rosemary Nelson and Pat Finucane. The amendment also conditions the funds on the British government protecting other defence lawyers who have been harassed and intimidated by the RUC.

``Last September Rosemary Nelson testified before the International Operations and Human Rights Sub-Committee that death threats had been issued against her by members of the RUC. This week, the UN Special Rapporteur, Mr Cumaraswamy, also expressed his disquiet at the circumstances surrounding Rosemary's murder.

``Last month it was reported that the ICPC supervised inquiry raised `serious concerns' about the RUC investigation into RUC death threats against Rosemary Nelson. These all add up to an undeniable case for an independent international investigation and judicial inquiry into the murder of Rosemary Nelson.

``The British government can no longer duck its responsibilities. Rosemary Nelson suffered an appalling catalogue of abuse, harassment and death threats from members of the RUC. Her murder understandably raises serious concerns about RUC collusion. If the British government is serious about justice and about human rights then it can no longer ignore the concerns of the Nelson family and the wider community; nor can it ignore the calls for justice from the international community. A fully independent internationally based investigation and an independent international judicial inquiry are the only means of seeking the truth about the murder of Rosemary Nelson.''

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