For Immediate Release – Tuesday 11th May, 2021 – 10am, Edinburgh.
Attn: News Desks, international
GLOBAL FIGURES RALLY IN SUPPORT OF JAILED FORMER UK AMBASSADOR AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST
Professor Noam Chomsky and award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger have spoken out (Tuesday) against a prison sentence imposed on the human rights activist and former UK diplomat Craig Murray.
Mr Murray was sentenced to eight months imprisonment at the High Court in Edinburgh (Scotland) today after being convicted of Contempt of Court over his reporting of the previous trial of the former First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, in 2020.
The High Court ruled that Mr Murray’s coverage of the Salmond trial led to so-called “jigsaw identification” of complainers who made allegations against the former First Minister. A jury acquitted Mr Salmond on all charges on 23rd March 2020.
It is believed to be the first instance in Scottish legal history where “jigsaw identification” has led to an individual being imprisoned.
Writer, journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger said, “In these dark times, Craig Murray’s truth-telling is a beacon. He is owed our debt of gratitude, not the travesty of a prison sentence which, like the prosecution of Julian Assange, is a universal warning.”
Professor Noam Chomsky added, “Craig Murray has compiled a remarkable record of courage and integrity in exposing crimes of state and working to bring them to an end. He fully merits our deep respect and support for his achievements.”
Respected British journalist and author Yvonne Ridley said that Mr Murray was ultimately paying the price of holding truth to power.
“I first became aware of Craig Murray in his role as Britain’s ambassador in Uzbekistan when he heroically exposed human rights atrocities meted out to dissidents,” Ridley said.
“As a result of his intervention the world learned how the regime tortured and boiled alive some of its political prisoners. Instead of being praised he was subjected by the Foreign Office to a humiliating disciplinary investigation, had his personal life publicly shredded and suffered a string of health problems,” said Ridley.
“That is the price he paid for holding truth to power back in 2002 and the fact he is still shining a light on injustices two decades later is to his credit,” Ridley added.
“Now it appears he has fallen foul of contempt laws through claims of jigsaw identification. Sending him to prison because he has upset the Establishment – yet again – proves nothing more than the law is an ass,” Ridley said.
Scotland’s former Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill MP, who is himself a lawyer added, “This is a sad day for Scottish Justice. The idea that all problems emanate from Westminster is absurd. There are deep rooted structures and historic inequalities that scar Scotland. They require changed and that cannot await independence, especially when those legal structures are already devolved.”
Solicitor Advocate, Gordon Dangerfield (who does not represent Mr Murray) said, “The way in which Craig Murray has been singled out by the prosecuting authorities in this case is a national scandal which should concern anyone who cares about the rule of law in Scotland. The whole concept of ‘jigsaw identification’ also needs to be rethought and I fully support Craig’s appeal.”
Mr Murray’s legal team now plan to launch an appeal against his conviction and sentencing.
Note for Editors:
Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster, and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.
Craig Murray joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1984. As a member of the Diplomatic Service his responsibilities included the following:
1986-9 Second Secretary, Commercial, British High Commission, Lagos.
Responsible for promoting British exports to, and business interests in, Nigeria.
1989-92 Head of Maritime Section, FCO, London.
Responsible for negotiation of the UK and Dependent Territory continental shelf and fisheries boundaries, for implementation of the Channel Tunnel treaty and for negotiations on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. From August 1990 to August 1991 he was also head of the FCO Section of the Embargo Surveillance Centre, responsible for intelligence analysis on Iraqi attempts at evading sanctions, particularly in the field of weapons procurement, and with providing information to UK military forces and to other governments to effect physical enforcement of the embargo.
1992-4 Head of Cyprus Section, FCO London.
Responsible for UN negotiations on the Cyprus dispute, relations with the government of Cyprus and for the mandate and requirements of the British contingent of the UN force in Cyprus,
1994-7 First Secretary (Political and Economic), British Embassy, Warsaw.
Head of the Political and Economic sections of our Embassy in Poland. Responsible for relations with Poland and assisting Poland’s post-communist transition process with reference to preparation for EU membership.
1997-8 Deputy Head, Africa Department (Equatorial), Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Responsible for British political and commercial relationships with West Africa, including development issues.
1998-2002 Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission, West Africa Branch.
Responsible for British economic, political, commercial and aid relationships with Ghana and Togo. In Autumn 1998 Craig Murray was the UK Representative at the Sierra Leone Peace talks held in Togo, Liberia and Sierra Leone, including direct negotiation with the RUF terrorist leadership.
2002-2004 British Ambassador, Uzbekistan
Responsible for our relationship with Uzbekistan. He found Western support for the dictatorial Karimov regime unconscionable, as detailed in the rest of his website (www.craigmurray.org.uk
At the 2005 UK General Election, Craig Murray takes on Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in Blackburn as an Independent candidate, winning 2,082 votes
This disgraceful prosecution brings disgrace and shame on Scotland and highlights the abuses of freedom of speech that are now becoming all too obvious in our country. Scots must not be tolerant of this, our freedoms are under attack and we cannot afford to be apathetic about this. We have a corrupt Government and a deeply flawed Justice System. There are painful days ahead I fear and great conflict but democracy demands fair Government and Justice, currently Scotland has neither. We are increasingly a police state.
I AM, AS ALWAYS
YOURS FOR SCOTLAND.
BEAT THE CENSORS
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