Lawyers seek inquiry into 'RUC threats'

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The Independent Online
THE GOVERNMENT and the Royal Ulster Constabulary were criticised yesterday at a session of the United Nations Commission for Human Rights over alleged threats by police officers against defence solicitors in Northern Ireland, writes Michael Sheridan.

British diplomats at the United Nations in Geneva were understood to be consulting the Northern Ireland Office before deciding to exercise Britain's right of reply to the allegations.

The Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights, a New York-based group, told the annual session of the UN Commission that it was deeply concerned by statements from lawyers and detainees in the Province that RUC officers often uttered abuse and threats against defence solicitors while interrogating their clients. It urged an investigation into the claims.

The group also called for an independent judicial inquiry into the murder in 1989 of Patrick Finucane, a Belfast solicitor who often defended Republican suspects. The statements followed publication of a 92-page report by the lawyers' committee into the Finucane killing and into alleged misconduct by the police.