Justice Watch, Ireland (JWI) is dedicated to protecting human rights and the civil liberties of all the people throughout Ireland. We stand with victims and activists to prevent miscarriages of Justice and discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct. We will investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable.
We will challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law. We enlist the public and the international community to support the cause of human rights for all.
CASEWORK INQUIRY: To investigate and review the alleged illegal detention of Martin Corey.
SUMMARY: Martin Corey (63) from Lurgan, Co. Armagh has been incarcerated since April 1, 2010 without trial or charge. Ever since his ordeal began; the commencement of the three years, six months and nine days imprisonment, after being seized by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) then transported to Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) Maghaberry, Martin Corey has never been charged with any offence and has been denied due process under the law. He has never been given any lawful or legitimate reason for his dentition nor has there ever been any sufficient disclosure documentation been made available, despite countless requests by his legal team.
Martin Corey is a lifelong republican political activist and member of the non-conforming Republican Sinn Fein (RSF) political party. In 1973, at the age of 19 he was sentenced to life in prison for his part in the killing of two Royal Ulster Constabulary (R.U.C.) officers near Lurgan. Mr Corey spent 19 years of his life in prison; he was released in June 1992, six years prior to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). Therefore he has served his full sentence and was not released under the provisions of the early release scheme as provided in the GFA.
After his release from prison, Mr Corey has continued to be a political analyst for the struggle of Irish independence, constantly highlighting state abuses, questioning the reasoning of what he believes to be British occupation in Ireland and, highlighting the pitfalls of their [British] rule.
Mr Corey is a well respected and admired member of his local community. He has successfully survived his post prison release and has set up his own business. During our investigation we have learned from many that know him, that his primary interests are his family, his work and in his spare time he would spend it coarse fishing. In any normal society he would be an inoffensive individual and credit to his community, however for over three and half years this 63 year old man has be imprisoned and nobody can explain why.
Corey’s case went before the Parole Board in August 2011, the quango was provided with a file of ‘closed information’ by the ‘Northern Ireland Office’ (NIO). Without any justification his detention was stayed. His legal team; extremely disillusioned and frustrated by the on-going injustice of this debacle, brought the case to the High Court in Belfast, Co. Antrim by means of a Judicial Review. The case was heard in April and May of 2012, the presiding Judge Lord Treacy, a respected human rights advocate, he expressed his difficulty presiding over a case; in which most of the alleged information wasn’t made available to him. As a result Lord Treacy ordered Mr Corey’s, immediate release on July 9, 2012.
However the democratic process and fundamental principle; ‘the separation of power’ was trashed when, Owen Paterson the then appointed British secretary of state intervened, blocking the release. The decision for obstructing Judge Treacy’s finding was appealed in the High Court in Belfast on July 11, 2012. The British government appointed Lord Chief Justice upheld the ruling and requested the case be reheard on the 26th of November 2012. Again the panel of three judges upheld the decision to continue Corey’s internment.
The NIO points out that Martin Corey's life licence was revoked by the British secretary of state following a recommendation by an independent Parole Commissioner; there response remains; ‘it is a matter of national security.’ Justice Watch Ireland (JWI) understands that the term ‘national security’ is not specifically defined by Irish, British or European law. It has been the policy of successive Governments and the practice of Parliament not to define the term, in order to retain the flexibility necessary to ensure that the use of the term can adapt to changing circumstances.
Corey’s legal team, headed by Peter Murphy, have continued to be outraged at this enduring process, they have challenged the current appointed British secretary of state; Theresa Villiers (a legal academic and trained barrister) to abide by the due process of the law, to bring charges against Corey, to allow details of the allegations he faces to be heard in open court. Thus far she has refused to do so.
Scathing of the charade perpetrated against Corey, Murphy highlights that his client was being denied the right to a fair trial. In a damming statement, he stated ‘It's like internment all overagain in the sense that he hasn't been given the chance to defend his position…when we ask questions about the nature of the allegations and evidence against our client we are told nothing…in any criminal court you can meet your accuser, you have a chance to cross-examine them, and you have a chance to defend yourself because you're given the detail of what the allegations are against you…We don't have any of that, so our client is in a very difficult situation in that he's sitting in prison not knowing why he's there.’
Justice Watch Ireland, (JWI) has carried out a comprehensive review of all the information available in the case of Martin Corey. As a result JWI shall assist Martin Corey, his legal team, family and supporters in any way it can.
For a human rights advocate or legal practitioner the case of Martin Corey is extremely distressing and worrying. The authorities have imprisoned a citizen for over three and a half years and have offered absolutely no reason for doing so. Therefore people may be entitled to infer or make assumptions on the evidence that is available.
One such assumption or inference is that the on-going onslaught on Mr Corey and other ‘iconic' and respected Irish republicans is extremely sinister and politically motivated. Possibly as way of revenge or more likely; that the state authorities logistically choose individuals as a human sacrifice. Used as a way to intimidate all persons in that society that refuse to conform. This policy, fly’s in the face of the genuine expectation of any citizen in a legitimate democracy in which, political opposition is a necessity. Furthermore in 1998, the people of the Ireland were promised a ’new dispensation’ a society with a political and legal system that would be open and transparent. The people overwhelming supported the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). Unfortunately since the re-election of the Conservative Party in 2010, the GFA, in our opinion may well be, in the process of being dismantled.
During this process and in cases such as with Martin Corey the current elected British government not only have breached the GFA, obliterating the rights, hopes and aspirations of the Irish people, they have also breached their own basic principles on the rule of law, due process under the law and the right to fair trial. As a result they have breached international and domestic human rights protections and illustrated that non-conformity will be met with authoritarian rule and injustice. Sending a clear message that opposition to the current political process will not be tolerated.
If Martin Corey has committed a crime, JWI request that the state authorities arraign him in front of a judge and jury in an open court and allow the due process of the legal institutions to do its work and make him answerable for any alleged offences. The state authorities’ refusal to do so is an affront to justice and the rule of law.
JWI would agree with Mr Corey’s legal team that Mr Corey has been denied the Right to a Fair Trial as set out in Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). Furthermore after taking counsel JWI strongly believe that there has been a breach of Article 5 of the ECHR. Article 5 – Right to liberty and security, it states, ‘Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law: The key purpose of Article 5 is to prevent arbitrary or unjustified deprivations of liberty (McKay v. the United Kingdom [GC], § 30). The right to liberty and security is of the highest importance in a ‘democratic society’ within the meaning of the ECHR (Medvedyev and Others v. France [GC], § 76; Ladent v. Poland, no. 11036/03, § 45, 18 March 2008).
The European Court of Human Rights therefore considers that the unacknowledged detention of an individual is a complete negation of the fundamentally important guarantees contained in Article 5 of the ECHR and discloses a most grave violation of that provision. The absence of a record of such matters as the date, time and location of detention, the name of the detainee, the reasons for the detention and the name of the person effecting it must be seen as incompatible, inter alia, with the very purpose of Article 5 of the ECHR (see Kurt v. Turkey, § 125; Anguelova v. Bulgaria, § 154). It is also incompatible with the requirement of lawfulness under the ECHR (Anguelova v. Bulgaria).
With regards to compliance with national law, in order to meet the requirement of lawfulness, detention must be ‘in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law’. This means that detention must conform to the substantive and procedural rules of national law (or international law where appropriate, see among many other authorities, Medvedyev and Others v. France [GC], § 79). For example, the European Court of Human Rights, found that there had been a violation of Article 5 where the authorities had failed to lodge an application for extension of a detention order within the time-limit prescribed by law (G.K. v. Poland, § 76). It should also be noted that JWI have carried out a comprehensive review of current British litigation, we cannot find any other similar scenario to that of the case of Martin Corey (we stand to be corrected).
When the state authorities detain a political adversary in any jurisdiction, it should be met with a level of concern. In a society fresh from conflict during a period of transformation it should be met with great trepidation. It could be rightfully perceived as act of aggression from a primary participant in the war, and a professed assault on a vulnerable, precarious and unstable fledgling democratic process.
JWI’s team have committed resources to carry out a comprehensive investigation of the case of Martin Corey, as result we have concluded that the situation that has been forced upon him is so fundamentally wrong that it is a threat to the very foundation of the new dispensation that has been promised to the citizens of Ireland.
Furthermore JWI believe for this abuse to take place in such an open and notorious way; there must been clear collusion, complicity and cover up and systemic abuse of power by government departments possibly with instruction from the highest echelons in government. All these issues require prompt and full investigation. In any other jurisdiction; these issues that would sit well in a Stalinist dictatorship would cause major concern. We hope that these on-going issues are not covered up and left to stagnate. The raised matters have huge implications for that society, and will be ignored at peril.
Mr Corey has been denied many rights, most importantly this 63 year old man; for over three and a half years has been denied his right to family and personal life as set out in the provisions of Article 8 of the ECHR. Throughout his time in jail his plight has been largely ignored by a submissive media. Also Corey has been criminalised and brutalised by state authorities in Maghaberry prison in what the ex-governor, Steve Rodford, during evidence in an open court stated that the prison and the staff are out of control. As a result JWI would appeal that the local political and civil leaders in Ireland, Britain, the USA, the EU and all those with a strong vested interest in the state of Irish affairs make themselves aware of the case of Martin Corey and strive to bring this extreme injustice to an end.
OTHER EVENTS/ISSUES OF NOTE:
Justice watch Ireland (JWI) have provided a link and some text from the Charter of Paris for a New Europe: A new Era of Democracy, Peace and Unity. It is the opinion of JWI that the case of Martin Corey makes a mockery of this fine document. Ironically its formation was assisted by representation from the Irish and British governments and adopted by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe on November 1990. Both governments clearly need a reminder of what they have signed up to.
Charter of Paris for a New Europe (in Kazakh) – OSCEwww.osce.org/mc/39516
A new era of Democracy, Peace and Unity; ‘We, the Heads of State or Government of the States participating in the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, have assembled in Paris at a time of profound change and historic expectations. The era of confrontation and division of Europe has ended. We declare that henceforth our, relations will be founded on respect and co-operation. Europe is liberating itself from the legacy of the past. The courage of men and women, the strength of the will of the peoples and the power of the ideas of the Helsinki Final Act have opened a new era of democracy, peace and unity in Europe. Ours is a time for fulfilling the hopes and expectations our peoples have cherished for decades: steadfast commitment to democracy based on human rights and fundamental freedoms; prosperity through economic liberty and social justice; and equal security for all our countries.
The Ten Principles of the Final Act will guide us towards this ambitious future, just as they have lighted our way towards better relations for the past fifteen years. Full implementation of all CSCE commitments must form the basis for the initiatives we are now taking to enable our nations to live in accordance with their aspirations. Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law We undertake to build, consolidate and strengthen democracy as the only system of government of our nations. In this endeavour, we will abide by the following: Human rights and fundamental freedoms are the birth right of all human beings are inalienable and are guaranteed by law. Their protection and promotion is the first responsibility of government. Respect for them is an essential safeguard against an over mighty State. Their observance and full exercise are the foundation of freedom, justice and peace.
Democratic government is based on the will of the people, expressed regularly through free and fair elections. Democracy has as its foundation respect for the human person and the rule of law. Democracy is the best safeguard of freedom of expression, tolerance of all groups of society, and equality of opportunity for each person. Democracy, with its representative and pluralist character, entails accountability to the electorate, the obligation of public authorities to comply with the law and justice administered impartially. No one will be above the law.
We affirm that, without discrimination, every individual has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, freedom of movement; no one will be: subject to arbitrary arrest or detention, subject to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; to fair and public trial if charged with an offence’.
With the above text in mind; JWI request that political parties, civil society, concerned individuals, Human Rights activists and groups, must remove their heads from the sand or tail between their legs. The abuse of power by the British authorities towards people that are not conforming to their rule is totally unacceptable. Those individuals that criticise political regimes including Syria, Egypt, China, north Korea or countries in Africa need to educate themselves on what is being carried out by the British state in Ireland.
The abuse of power by state agents and their non-state employees create an extremely dangerous environment. It should be further noted that a breach of fundamental human rights of one is in fact a breach of fundamental human rights for us all. Again we would ask all people who have an interest in the protection of fundamental human rights, to engage with this case, the information that is available in the circumstance of Martin Corey; so as to get an insight into the brutality and inequity of the British political system in Ireland.