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Free Michael Now!

Free Michael Now!

Michael Shields is innocent, found guilty by a Judicial System that has no hint of the ideas of Justice and Fairness in its processes, and remains incarcerated in the UK, having been transferred from his Bulgarian Jail on payment of the £90,000 compensation to the victim of a terrible crime.

But Michael is a victim too. A victim of a miscarriage of justice. Arrested and forced to wear a t shirt he hadn’t been wearing that night for an identity parade. Handcuffed to a radiator, just yards away from passing witnesses. Having his head forcibly shaved to make him look more like the stereotypical “thug”. Michael was found guilty and despite many eye witness accounts, and a signed confession from another man, Michael remained locked up. He was transferred to the UK after the compensation was paid, following donations and support from Michael’s family and friends and members of the public, many of them Liverpool fans aware it could easily have been them.

Throughout all this, the UK government have done little to support Michael. Despite Bulgaria’s insistence that he does have the power to do so, Jack Straw claims he is unable to free Michael.  So the family have taken the next step. On Thursday 4th December, Michael’s legal team and his family will hear the High Court in London carry out a Judicial Review of Jack Straw’s decision to refuse a pardon for Michael.

Ahead of the Judicial Review, Spirit Of Shankly, the Liverpool Supporters’ Union, will be helping the fight to have Michael, our member number 1, freed. We will be supporting the family in this continuing fight. A number of initiatives have been planned in the run up to 4th December, and what will hopefully be a decision that finally sees Michael brought back home to his family.

On Tuesday 25th November 2008, a coach filled with mothers who empathise with Maria Shields, Michael's mother, will set off for London where a press conference will be chaired by Louise Ellman, MP. Maria Shields will then hand in a letter for Sarah Brown, the Prime Minister's wife, at 10 Downing Street asking her to support the campaign to free Michael. This will be followed by a demonstration outside the Ministry of Justice at 11 am. Any mothers wishing to take part should email admin@spiritofshankly.com to register their interest, although places are limited.

A delegation from the Shields' family and Spirit Of Shankly will go to Blackburn to raise the issue of Michael's case in Jack Straw's constituency, and draw on more support.

On Monday 1st December at the West Ham United game, this is the opportunity for all of us, to stand with Michael, and his family, in their bid to have him freed. A banner will be held up at the front of the Kop, saying Free Michael Now, during You’ll Never Walk Alone. After this has finished, fans on the Kop will be asked to hold the mosaic up ‘Free Michael Now’, until the 3rd Minute of the game, whilst chanting “Free Michael Now”. The 3 minutes is symbolic, a minute for each of the years Michael has spent locked up. The players will also be visually showing their support for the campaign.

SOS are looking for volunteers to help set this up the mosiac in the afternoon before the game, please email admin@spiritofshankly.com if you are able to help.

On Thursday 4th December 2008 when the Judicial Review takes place, Michael’s family and supporters will travel to the High Court in London, for what we all hope will be a landmark decision that will see Michael rightfully freed.  

There are also other ways to get involved. Sign up to the Free Michael Shields group on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=2210918089&ref=ts) and show your support or contact your local MP to highlight the case to them (http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/commons/l/).

Spare a few minutes for a young lad who has lost three years of his life.

Free Michael Now!

The Shields Family & Spirit Of Shankly



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