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One of the Guildford Four in Australia -

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ELEANOR HALL: Gerry Conlon is one of the most famous victims of a miscarriage of justice in
Britain. He was one of the Guildford Four who were wrongly convicted for involvement in the IRA
bombings of the 1970s and he is now touring Australia to raise money for a prisoner assistance
program.

The Miscarriages of Justice Organisation helps innocent people trying to get out of jail and
assists with their transition into the community. Gerry Conlon began his tour in Perth, where he
spoke to David Weber.

GERRY CONLON: It was terrible when six men got arrested for Birmingham and four got arrested for
Guildford and seven got arrested in a conspiracy that came from Guildford but we were very lucky
that there was so many of us arrested en masse and charged and sentenced together because it meant
that we had six families, four families and seven families, seventeen families in all fighting and
encouraging us.

The people who haven't got any help, well, we're the organisation that is going to be their voice
and we don't do it because they tell us they are innocent because prisoners have a habit of saying
when they get sent to prison, we are in here for something we didn't do.

We'll take their papers and we get in touch with lawyers and we give them also to investigative
journalists and if they come back and they say there is something rotten about this, it needs
further investigation, that is what we do.

DAVID WEBER: There is often a feeling in Australia and elsewhere I suppose that they look at cases
like the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six and they say well that kind of thing used to happen
in the past and it doesn't happen now.

GERRY CONLON: Well, I mean, you take the case of the young Muslims in Britain who have been
demonised, been regarded with suspicion and hostility because of the actions of a few.

Isn't that what happened in 1974. Isn't it inevitable that the same mistakes will happen again?
That people will be convicted on the back of newspaper headlines and public outcry. The kneejerk
reaction to get someone, anyone and then they get convicted and then they struggle to prove their
innocence.

So yes, it does happen today and it happens today because the lessons of the past have been noted
but no action has been taken on it.

DAVID WEBER: Do you think that in the current climate it is more likely that people could face
miscarriages of justice?

GERRY CONLON: Well, obviously because they start to bring in draconian laws. They pass legislation
that is very oppressive and in England they want the 42-day detention and some people are asking
for a 90-day detention.

If they could do to the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four within seven days, what powers would
they have to fabricate even more evidence? Obviously terrorism is an insidious thing but what is
even more insidious is taking innocent people from the streets, building a case around them instead
of against them.

So of course, these laws that came in in 1974 as a result of the Birmingham pub bombings and I was
the second person that it was applied to.

Within a short space of time I had it seeped into mainstream policing and the conspiracy charge is
one that should be outlawed.

DAVID WEBER: What about the argument that some of these tougher laws are necessary because Islamic
fundamentalist terrorism is a different and more desperate enemy than perhaps the IRA which had
clearly defined aims and the IRA weren't interested in the kind of radical approaches that Islamic
fundamentalists are like suicide bombings for instance?

GERRY CONLON: Well, I totally agree with you that Islamic fundamentalism is not like the IRA. It
seems that Islamic fundamentalists, as we are told, want to create an Islamic world.

Isn't it insidious and horrendous and appalling when they leave bombs or have suicide bombers walk
into a market and blow up people, but is the proper response from a democratic humane government to
have a kneejerk reaction and take innocent people and incarcerate them for years? You know two
wrongs don't make a right.

DAVID WEBER: To what extent does the mud stick when you have been charged with a horrific crime
like this despite the evidence, you've been found not guilty and you have been exonerated but some
people still think that you must have had something to do with it because otherwise you wouldn't
have been locked up?

GERRY CONLON: Well, when you get people like Lord Denning said two weeks after I got out of prison
that it would have been better to hang the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six because it would
have stopped the campaigns for them and it wouldn't have brought British justice into disrepute.

You know, that is an appalling thing for any judge to say but there is always going to be certain
people within any community, within any community that's going to harbour suspicions.

You are never going to convince every one of your innocence but then again, it is not my job to
convince everyone of my innocence. If anyone wants to come and talk to me on an individual basis or
they want to come and hear mojo speak at meetings, they can come up and they can ask any question.

And I'm sure after meeting us they go away if not with their opinion changed, a few questions that
will be lingering in their mind for a long time but we are never going to have 100 per cent of
anyone believing us but that is not our job.

Our job is to go out there and tell the truth and try and change what happened to us and not happen
to any other people.

ELEANOR HALL: That is Gerry Conlon one of the men known as the Guildford Four who were found to
have been wrongly convicted of IRA bombings in Britain.

He's in Australia to raise money for the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation and he was speaking
to David Weber in Perth and you can hear longer interviews with Gerry Conlon and with Paddy Hill
from the Birmingham Six on the The World Today website later today.