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NUJ welcomes international call to re-open O'Hagan murder investigation


26 September 2014

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has welcomed a call by the OSCE representative on freedom of the media for a re-opening of the investigation into the murder of Sunday World journalist and NUJ activist Martin O’Hagan in September 2001.

Dunja Mijatović today called on the UK authorities to re-launch a criminal investigation into the murder, 13 years ago.

Dunja Mijatović said:

"It is unacceptable that all this time has passed and not one person has been held responsible for what was a public execution.
"The failure to prosecute can create an environment of impunity for those who might attack journalists."

The OSCE representative on freedom of the media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating states. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments.

The statement has been welcomed by Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, who said the intervention:

"serves as a timely reminder of the failure of the PSNI to secure a conviction for the murder of a journalist of commitment, courage and integrity.
"The NUJ has long been demanding the re-opening of the investigation and it is appropriate that the OSCE should again seek to place the issue on the international agenda."

Séamus Dooley, NUJ Irish secretary, said:

"The murder of Martin O’Hagan stands as one of the many cases in Northern Ireland which has yet to be resolved. There are many disturbing elements to this case and it is simply not enough to write it off as an ‘unsolved’ murder.
"We need a renewed political resolve to find those who murdered Martin O’Hagan. The fact that no one has been convicted of Martin’s murder has emboldened those who seek to intimidate journalists in Northern Ireland on a regular basis.
On a frequent basis we receive reports of threats to editors, reporters and photographers. Re-opening of the investigation, on foot of the OSCE call, would send a clear signal that the role of the media and the right of journalists to operate freely and without hindrance in Northern Ireland, is fully respected."

Martin O'Hagan was killed in Lurgan on 28 September 2001. At the time of his death, he was secretary of the Belfast and district NUJ branch.

Tags: , martin o'hagan, belfast, belfast and district branch, journalists killed, justice, law, impunity, OSCE, europe, safety, sunday world, newspapers, lurgan, intimidation