Help Get Justice for Spycops Victims in Scotland
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 women they spied on into sexual relationships, something the police concede is an abuse of police power and a violation of human rights.
Despite such serious events being well known, the public inquiry into undercover policing is limited to events in England and Wales.
One would have thought the SNP government in Scotland would have seized on this – English officers committing gross violations of citizens in Scotland, and whilst 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 HMICS is effectively a satellite body of the police, we have no faith in its ability to deal with the issue in a credible way.
We met Michael Matheson in May 2017, and he told us he expected the report in September. He assured that 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 2nd November 2017. Nobody has heard anything about it since.
JUDICIAL REVIEW – WHEN IS A CASE NOT A CASE?
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 SLAB 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 we consider other allegations of political interference in Scottish policing).
This is where you come in. We would like people to 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.
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.’
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, that she may then let the country know what counter-democratic abuses have been committed in their name.