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Thursday 5 September 2019

LCID and SyriaUK call on Diane Abbott to distance herself from pro-Assad atrocity denier

A letter from Labour Campaign for International Development and Syria Solidarity UK to Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, on news that she is to join in the launch of a publication co-authored by David Miller.

Diane Abbott MP
Shadow Home Secretary
House of Commons

5th September 2019

Dear Diane,

We are deeply concerned to learn that you are to take part in the launch of a CAGE publication co-authored by David Miller, a notorious pro-Assad atrocity denier. You previously appeared with him at a ‘Spinwatch’ panel event back on the 26th of March.

David Miller, a professor of political sociology at the University of Bristol, is part of a group that systematically denies high profile Assad regime crimes against civilians in Syria, particularly the Assad regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons. David Miller has also sought to deny Russia’s responsibility for the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

Labour’s 2017 manifesto, when referring to Syria, committed to work for justice for the victims of war crimes.

As Home Secretary in a future Labour government, you would have responsibility for policy towards Syrian refugees in the UK who are victims of—and witnesses to—the Assad regime’s crimes. Diane Abbott would also have responsibility for the UK’s own investigations into war crimes, currently dealt with by SO15, the Counter Terrorism Command of the Metropolitan Police.

If you associates herself with a committed war crimes denier such as David Miller, this must undermine confidence in the willingness of Labour to work for the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for crimes in Syria, including some of the worst war crimes and crimes against humanity seen this century.

We hope you will reconsider appearing on this panel and be more careful about who you associate yourself with in future given your responsibilities as an MP and as Shadow Home Secretary.

Yours sincerely,

Batool Abdulkareen,
Syria Solidarity UK

Bronwen Griffiths,
Syria Solidarity UK

David Taylor,
Vice-Chair LCID