Gerry Conlon — In Memoriam (1954-2014)

Gerry Conlon
In Memoriam
1954-2014

Gerry Conlon died in Belfast, Northern Ireland on June 21, 2014, three weeks after he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was 60. Conlon was survived by his partner, his daughter and two sisters.

Gerry Conlon after his release on October 19, 1989.

Gerry Conlon after his release on October 19, 1989.

Conlon’s ordeal of being one of the Guildford Four wrongly convicted of murder and incarcerated for 15 years for the 1974 bombing of two pubs in Guilford, England is well known around the world because of the 1993 movie In the Name of the Father. “The movie starred Daniel Day-Lewis as Conlon and Emma Thompson as his lawyer Gareth Peirce, and it was based on Conlon’s autobiographical book Proved Innocent that was published in 1991. Conlon’s book was reprinted in 1993 under the title In the Name of the Father to take advantage of the publicity generated by the movie.

The Guildford Four’s case is detailed in Justice Denied’s May 2001 article “In the Name of the Father — Part I: Summary of the book and the movie, and Part II: The Unreliability of Confessions is a Lesson to be Learned from In The Name of the Father.” During the 13 years since it was published it has consistently been one of the most viewed Justice Denied articles online — and in the month before Conlon died it was the most viewed of the more than 1,250 articles that have published in the magazine.

Gerry Conlon (center with right-hand raised) outside the courthouse in London after his conviction was overturned and he was released on October 19, 1989. (Photopress Belfast)

Gerry Conlon (center with right-hand raised) outside the courthouse in London after his conviction was overturned and he was released on October 19, 1989. (Photopress Belfast)

In February 2005 British Prime Minister Blair officially apologized to the Guildford Four, and the Maguire Seven who were wrongly convicted of the 1974 bombing of a pub in Woolwich, England.

Gerry Conlon’s obituary in London’s The Guardian newspaper was written by Gareth Peirce.

After Conlon died Michael Naughton, the founder and director of the Innocence Network UK, wrote the article “Gerry Conlon’s life is a reminder that wrongful convictions happen everywhere,” published on TheConversation.com.

On June 24, 2014 Early Day Motion 168 titled “ Death Of Gerry Conlon Of The Guildford Four,” was submitted in the UK’s House of Commons by MP Roger Godsiff. The motion reads:

That this House notes with regret that Mr Gerry Conlon, who was wrongly convicted of being an IRA bomber and imprisoned for 14 years, died on 21 June 2014; remembers that his conviction was based on the intimidation of witnesses and the suppression of evidence; expresses sympathy for his suffering during his time in prison, when he was subjected to solitary confinement and torture, and after he was released, when he experienced trauma resulting from the ill-treatment he endured while in prison; celebrates his achievements after being released, when he campaigned for other victims of miscarriages of justice and human rights abuses around the world; further notes with approval that in 2005 Tony Blair apologised for the ordeal and injustice Gerry Conlon suffered; regrets that the police officers who falsified evidence against Gerry Conlon never stood trial, and that Gerry Conlon did not believe that he received justice; further notes that there is a 75-year immunity order on the case; offers Gerry Conlon’s family and friends condolences on their loss; further expresses the hope that the miscarriage of justice which Gerry Conlon suffered from will serve as a reminder of the importance of fair trials and access to justice for all, as Gerry Conlon campaigned for; and further expresses the belief that terrorism cannot be fought by eroding human rights.

An Early Day Motion allows Members of Parliament to draw attention to an event or cause, and MPs register their support by signing a motion. Within a day of EDM 168 being submitted ten MP’s had showed their support by signing it.

Click here to read Justice Denied’s May 2001 article, “In the Name of the Father — Part I: Summary of the book and the movie, and Part II: The Unreliability of Confessions is a Lesson to be Learned from In The Name of the Father.”

Click here to read Justice Denied’s article, “British P. M. Tony Blair Apologizes To Guildford Four and Maguire Seven.”

 

By Hans Sherrer
Justice Denied
June 25, 2014

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