An Australian human rights lawyer and Wikileaks representative has reportedly been placed on a watch list, and requires permission from the Department of Foreign Affairs to fly home.
Julian Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, says she was stopped at Heathrow Airport this morning, just days after meeting with the Wikileaks founder.
Australian Lawyers Alliance national President Greg Barns today expressed grave concern at the placing of lawyer Jennifer Robinson on a ‘no fly list’.
“The ALA is extremely concerned that simply because a lawyer is representing a client that government does not like, the lawyer is then subjected to security scrutiny,” Barns said.
“The UK and Australian governments must come clean as to why Ms Robinson was subjected to this treatment at Heathrow airport today and why she is on any sort of security list,” he said.
Barns said all lawyers must be able to act for their clients without fearing that they will be harassed by government agencies, either in their own country or overseas
“An independent legal profession is a hallmark of a democratic society and the UK and Australian governments’ actions towards lawyers, such as Ms Robinson, undermines that.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs told The Sydney Morning Herald it was not aware of any Australian government restrictions on Robinson’s travel.
“As an Australian with a valid passport, she would be free to return to Australia at any stage,” a spokesperson told the newspaper.
Robinson used Twitter to highlight the news of her hold up at Heathrow.
“Just delayed from checking in at LHR because I’m apparently “inhibited” – requiring approval from Australia House @dfat to travel,” she tweeted.
“@dfat Please explain: What is the “inhibited” travel list? And why am I apparently now on it?” she said in another tweet.