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Support justice for spycops victims in Scotland


help, justice, spycops victims, Scotland, undercover policing inquiry, As it stands now, people in Scotland have no recourse to truth or accountability.

The Scottish establishment is inexplicably stalling investigations into political secret police in the country, but you can help.

Most of the known spycops were active in Scotland, including many who had deceived the women they spied on into sexual relationships, something the police have conceded was an abuse of police power and a violation of the women’s human rights.

Despite such serious events being well known, the public inquiry into undercover policing is limited to events in England and Wales.

In December 2015 the Scottish government – supported by every party in the Scottish parliament – made a formal request for Scotland to be included in this inquiry.

The Home Office refused.

You would have thought the SNP government in Scotland would have seized on this: English officers committing gross violations of citizens in Scotland’s rights, and while English and Welsh victims get a full scale inquiry their Scottish counterparts get nothing.

However, Scottish justice minister Michael Matheson merely commissioned HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) to conduct a review of the matter.

As HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland is effectively a satellite body of the police, campaigners have no faith in its ability to deal with the issue in a credible way.

Campaigners met Michael Matheson in May 2017, and he told them he expected the report in September.

He assured them that if the review showed serious issues, he would order a proper inquiry.

HMICS did indeed finish their report in September.

After preparations, it was delivered to Matheson on 2 November 2017.

Nobody has heard anything about it since.

Meanwhile activist Tilly Gifford, who was targeted by spycops in Scotland, has sought to have a judicial review of the Home Office’s refusal to include Scotland in the public inquiry.

The Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) turned her down for funding, saying the case ‘did not have merits’.

This is at odds with a parallel case in Northern Ireland, where a judicial review is going ahead with public funding.

Gifford crowdfunded her case, and in September 2017 the Court of Session in Edinburgh accepted the merits of the case and granted permission to proceed to a full judicial review.

Gifford reapplied for legal aid, but the Scottish Legal Aid Board have moved the goalposts and now say they won’t fund the case unless it has ‘a good probability’ of winning.

This flat-out refusal with changing excuses is, on its own, enough to make one suspect political interference.

Taken alongside the Scottish government’s reluctance to have a proper inquiry into spycops’ abuses, it is increasingly hard to come to any other conclusion – even before you consider other allegations of political interference in Scottish policing.

As Gifford told Bella Caledonia this week: ‘I still don’t know how long I had been followed.

‘I still don’t know who commissioned me as a target.

‘I still don’t know what files are held on me.

‘What I do know is that I was followed on the streets, that they had access to my home, that they could call me on my personal phone from untraceable numbers when they wanted…

‘Communities in Wales and England who have suffered extreme abuses have the potential to have light shed on these sexual, emotional and physical violations carried out by the state.

‘Yet, as it stands now, people in Scotland have no such recourse to truth or accountability.

‘There are women who know they were targeted for sexual relationships by undercover operatives in Scotland.’

This is where you come in.

Please write to Scottish justice minister Michael Matheson to conduct an investigation into the decision to deny legal aid in this case, and to table a motion asking for the decision to be overturned.

The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers have provided an online form and suggested text for you.

Please take a few minutes to add your name to the call and help secure access to justice for Tilly Gifford, so that she can then let people know what abuses have been committed in their name.


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