26 Aug 2019 Lvl. 1
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Alert created on: 26 Aug 2019 n° 97/2019 United Kingdom
Continued Impunity for Murder of Journalist Martin O'Hagan in 2001
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Sunday World journalist Martin O’Hagan was murdered on 28th September 2001 in Lurgan, Co Armagh, and his killing remains one of the unsolved cases in Northern Ireland. Eighteen years after his brutal murder, the killers of Martin O’Hagan have not been brought to justice. It has long been suspected that those who ordered his killing were paid police informants linked to the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF). Martin O’Hagan had a particular interest in the activities of both Catholic and Protestant paramilitary groups. In 1992, Belfast loyalist Billy Wright, then a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force, had attempted to have O’Hagan killed. Later, Wright’s splinter group, the Loyalist Volunteer Force, had attacked the Sunday World’s Belfast office. On 28th September 2001, O'Hagan was shot several times from a passing car while walking home from a pub with his wife, who was not hurt in the attack. The vehicle used in the attack was found on fire not far from the crime scene. The Red Hand Defenders, an operational name for the Loyalist Volunteer Force, claimed responsibility for the murder. Colleagues believe the LVF targeted O'Hagan for exposing the narcotics network they controlled, as well as assassinations and intimidation rackets they orchestrated. Since 2017, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has been calling for an independent, external investigation into the murder of Martin O’Hagan. The union also called on the British and Irish governments to appoint a panel of independent, international experts to carry out an investigation into the murder of Martin O'Hagan and into the failed police investigation.