UK's wrongly convicted Gerry Conlon dies

Conlon was a key figure in false case of 1974 IRA Guildford bombing, one of the worst miscarriages of British justice.

    Conlon and three others spent 15 years in jail after being wrongly convicted for an IRA bombing in Surrey [AP]
    Conlon and three others spent 15 years in jail after being wrongly convicted for an IRA bombing in Surrey [AP]

    Gerry Conlon, who was imprisoned unjustly by Britain for an IRA bombing in 1974, has died at the age of 60, his family said.

    Conlon, a central figure in one of Britain's greatest miscarriages of justice, died on Saturday at his Belfast home following a long battle with cancer.

    He and three others were convicted and sentenced to life for the bombing of a pub in Guildford, near London, that killed five people.

    Brian Dooley, director of Human Rights First, who has written extensively on Irish immigrants living in the UK, discusses Conlon's legacy.

    The "Guildford Four" as they were known, spent 15 years in jail before they were exonerated and freed in 1989. In 2005, they received an official apology from then British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

    In 2009, Conlon  wrote in Britain's The Guardian newspaper: "It is still hard to describe what it is like to be facing a life sentence for something you did not do. For the first two years, I still had a little bit of hope. I would hear the jangling of keys and think that this was the time the prison officers were going to come and open the cell door and set us free."

    Conlon's father, Guiseppe, who was convicted for a lesser role in the same bombing was jailed in 1975 and died in prison.

    Gerry Conlon had protested his own innocence until he was freed and documented his struggles in a 1991 autobiography, "Proved Innocent", which was then adapted by director Jim Sheridan into 1993 film called " In the Name of the Father ," starring Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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