22/05/2002

NIHRC call for public inquiry into Wright murder

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) has called for an independent and international judicial inquiry into the murder of former Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright.

The Commission said it was calling for a public judicial inquiry into his murder to establish what actually happened on the day of the murder when three members of the republican paramilitary Irish National Liberation Army shot the former LVF leader in the Maze Prison in December 1997.

The Commission said that in its view under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights the State is not only required to protect life but also to investigate thoroughly and effectively cases where a person in the custody of the State has been deprived of life.

The Commission said in Billy Wright’s case, even though there have been convictions in relation to the murder, some relevant facts have still not been established. More specifically, the Commission said, how the gun used to kill Mr Wright was brought into the Maze Prison and how the killers were able to gain access to the area where Mr Wright was killed without being detected.

Chief Commissioner, Professor Brice Dickson, said: “Having met on two occasions with Mr David Wright (the father of Billy Wright) and his legal representatives, the Commission is now of the view that a full-scale public inquiry should be initiated so that all aspects of the murder of Mr Wright can be thoroughly and effectively investigated.

“The Commission is particularly motivated by the facts that Billy Wright was in the custody of the State when he was murdered and that very relevant information concerning the circumstances surrounding his murder has not yet been unearthed. We believe that Article 2 of the European Convention requires an independent inquiry in this case.”

The Commission said that it had adopted this view particularly in light of the Edwards versus UK (March 2002) case in the European Court of Human Rights which ruled that the UK State had failed to protect the life of a young man held in custody in England when he was killed by a cell-mate.

(AMcE)

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