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Dear Moonirah I am grateful for the infromation re. Ann Clwyd that you have provided on this list. I have to disagree with you on one point, though. You said that Ann Clwyd should not be speaking about International Criminal Court matters until she is cleared of wrongdoing herself. It is a proud judicial tradition in this country founded upon our experience and natural justice that people are innocent until proven guilty, not the other way round. Unless and until she is convicted of wrongdoing, she must be treated as innocent. Ann has been elected to Parliament to represent some 85,000 or so citizens. She has been a leading light in the campaign for an international criminal court on which I have worked with her for a long time. It would be a travesty of justice if the campaign's work, and her representative functions on all criminal law subjects, were to be stripped away merely because of unproved allegations. You make a good point that at present Ann has not been able to find the money to sue (although there is a fund to help Labour MPs sue, and the leading libel law firm in London is moving towards offering a "no win no fee" scheme). I don't think that this is a point against Ann. I think it is very unfair that the draconian libel laws in this country are open to the likes of Robert Maxwell, Jonathan Aitken and other rich people, but that people on an MP's salary don't qualify for legal aid and yet cannot possibly afford the £400,000 or so it might cost if the issue went to trial. I don't think that an article in Punch magazine, of all places, is a sufficient ground to impugn an MP's good character or say that she should stop talking about a particular subject. This is why I have replied to people who have asked me to put questions to Ann on this subject that that will not be done. It is fine to ask questions about sanctions on Iraq. It is not fine to make libellous allegations in the knowledge that the person cannot afford to sue. Publish and be damned is a valiant principle for a free press and poltical campaigners. Publish and let someone else be damned is not. Ann cannot possibly talk properly about matters under investigation, if indeed they are, and it is inappropriate to demand that fiunds be sequestrated without evidence of wrongdoing. So there is no need for people to ask questions about this matter. If anyone has evidence of misconduct then it should be passed on to the DTI, the Police and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards who will investigate fairly. Then we will have a definitve answer to the allegations made. In the meantime, both Ann Clwyd and the Coalition for an International Criminal Court have a job to do. Best wishes Alan ******************* ALAN BATES Christ's College St. Andrew's Street Cambridge CB2 3BU Tel: 01223 767607 ******************* -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi