Lawyers need to act without fear
Australian Lawyers Alliance national president Greg Barns has expressed his concern over the treatment of human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson at London’s Heathrow Airport yesterday (19 April) based on her representation of Julian Assange.
“The ALA is extremely concerned that simply because a lawyer is representing a client that [the] Government does not like, the lawyer is then subjected to security scrutiny,” said Barns.
Robinson has reportedly been placed on a ‘no fly’ list and requires permission from the Department of Foreign Affairs to fly home to Australia.
According to ABC News, Robinson was stopped at Heathrow Airport on Thursday (19 April) and told she could not board the plane to Australia until she received clearance from the Australian High Commission.
Robinson tweeted: “Just delayed from checking in at LHR [London Heathrow Airport] because I’m apparently ‘inhibited’ – requiring approval from Australia House … to travel.”
The airport incident occurred just days after Robinson met with the Wikileaks founder.
“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,” Barns said in a statement yesterday.
“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.”