Page last updated at 08:24 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Finucane death marked 20 years on

Candle-lit vigil
Martin McGuinness attended the vigil with the Finucane family

A candle-lit vigil has been held ahead of the 20th anniversary of the murder of high-profile solicitor Pat Finucane.

The 39-year-old father-of-three was shot dead by loyalists in front of his family at their north Belfast home.

Among those at the vigil in north Belfast were relatives of Mr Finucane and Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness.

Amnesty International is launching a campaign for a fully independent inquiry into the murder, one of the most controversial of the Troubles.

In 2004, Canadian judge Peter Cory recommended a public inquiry be held into the allegations of collusion in the murders of Mr Finucane, fellow solicitor Rosemary Nelson, Catholic father-of-two Robert Hamill and LVF leader Billy Wright in 1997.

The Wright, Hamill and Nelson inquiries have all got under way.

The government has made it clear that it intends to use the Inquiries Act to ensure that part of any inquiry into this case would be held in secret
Kate Allen
Amnesty International
The government has offered a public inquiry under the Inquiries Act, but this has been rejected by the Finucane family.

They argue this would not establish the truth as crucial evidence could be omitted from any final report at the government's discretion.

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said the use of this legislation was an attempt by the government "to ensure that any inquiry will lack real independence".

"The government has made it clear that it intends to use the Inquiries Act to ensure that part of any inquiry into this case would be held in secret, behind closed doors and in the absence of the Finucane family," she said.

Pat Finucane
A previous inquiry found security force collusion in Mr Finucane's murder
Mr Finucane's son John said it was important to remember his father.

"Twenty years on, I'm overwhelmed by the amount of people who have come out to remember him and support us as a family in what we've been trying to achieve."

Mr Finucane was shot 14 times as he was eating a Sunday meal at home. The attack, which wounded his wife, was witnessed by the couple's three children.

He was deemed a target because he was a defence lawyer who had represented a number of alleged IRA members in court.

His family has consistently denied he was an IRA supporter, saying he was killed for doing his job.

In 2003, former Metropolitan Police chief Lord Stevens found there had been security force collusion in Mr Finucane's murder.

He said the killing could have been prevented and the RUC murder investigation should have resulted in the early arrest and detection of his killers.

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