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Meet Brian Currin, the lawyer who gave us #GuptaLeaks

EDINBURGH – Brian Currin has been internationally described as a veteran of peace processes that put an end to civil conflicts after working in South Africa, Northern Ireland and the Basque Country. The head of the National Board of Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) between 1987 and 1994, Currin, played a key role in establishing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He has revealed that he is the person who made the delivery of a wealth of e-mails from the Gupta empire possible for a select group of journalists to analyze. The whistleblowers told a Daily Maverick meeting in August that they had left the country and did not expect to drop former President Jacob Zuma. They have released the information as a matter of conscience, says Politicsweb. This article about Brian Currin is published here on BizNews with the kind permission of Daily Maverick. – Jackie Cameron

#GuptaLeaks. More of Zapiro's magic available at www.zapiro.com.

By Ferial Haffajee

Veteran lawyer Brian Currin used a long career in human rights to change the story of South Africa – with a little help from whistleblowers, campaigners and a journalist or five.

Brian Currin, 68 years old last week, ended a lifelong and illustrious career in human rights and human rights law when on Thursday during the Zondo investigation committee it became clear that he was the crucial link between the whistleblowers in possession of the Gapte e-mails from the family Gupta and to get it into the public domain.

Currin testified before Judge Raymond Zondo on Thursday about how he got hold of the emails and the steps he took to protect the chain of evidence, so that the leaks can be formulated as evidence for the committee of inquiry today.

The e-mails are probably a crucial part of the work of the committee.

The lawyer, now based in Berlin, Germany and at the committee surrounded by a ring of guardians, revealed how "Stan" and "John", two ordinary South Africans, had come to him (via a friend) with a hard drive about 300,000 e-mails. These seemed to be the key to record evidence of how the family set up a network to capture the South African government and state-owned enterprises.

Currin used his networks in civil society and the wider world of human rights to tell their story. He gave a set of e-mails to veteran activist and campaigner Mark Heywood, who, in turn, conducted the independent investigative journalistic platforms of Daily Maverick and amaBhungane to assess the e-mails.

Daily Maverick & # 39; s editor, Branko Brkic and Heywood tried to raise money to secure safe passage from South Africa for the two men and their families. They put a team to work, checked the emails and confirmed it with their own reporting over the years in Gupta's business. It was a painstaking and lengthy investigation.

Currin, meanwhile, also worked with the whistleblowers to turn their stories into documents of law – statements he placed in safety at the Norton Rose Fulbright attorneys.

This is a proof of how its broad networks and how they were used to change the course of South Africa's contemporary history.

After a while, the sworn statements can come to the committee if the whistleblowers appear before it. At this moment they remain banned from their country and afraid to return. Currin revealed how he and the investigative journalists' team planned to publish the e-mails and what they had meant in September last year after working with the whistleblowers for most of the year.

In May last year, the Sunday Times stole a march over them and published a scoop. This, Currin said, had caused the whistleblowers "enormous fear" and influenced their confidence in the process.

Currin was also the lawyer who for the first time made a statement from the apartheid agent Dirk Coetzee who revealed evidence of police troops in the late 1980s.

His work on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and on the broader field of human rights law led him to establish a global practice for peacebuilding. He worked in Northern Ireland, the Basque Country of Spain and most recently in Colombia in talks between the government and FARC guerrilla fighters.

In Germany at a fellowship in Berlin, Currin is currently studying trends in the public-private sector relationship and how these reflect the political order or political decline. DM

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