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Shami Chakrabarti

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Shami Chakrabarti

Shami Chakrabarti
At Humber Mouth on 28 June 2007
Born Sharmishta Chakrabarti
(1969-06-16) 16 June 1969
London, England
Residence Lambeth, South London
Alma mater London School of Economics
Occupation Lawyer, Director of Liberty
Spouse(s) Martyn Hopper 1995-2012 (now separated)
Children 1 son
from the BBC programme Desert Island Discs, 2 Nov 2008[1]

Sharmishta Chakrabarti

Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
John Wadham
Director of Liberty
2003 – present
Academic offices
Preceded by
Jon Snow
Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Lord Phillips of Sudbury
Chancellor of the University of Essex
Succeeded by
  • Profile on Liberty website

External links

  1. ^ "Shami Chakrabarti". Desert Island Discs. 2 Nov 2008. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
  2. ^ "Liberty Director Shami Chakrabarti". Who we are. Liberty80. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "Chancellor".  
  4. ^ "Essex: Civil rights expert Shami Chakrabarti new Chancellor of Essex University".  
  5. ^ Vallely, Paul (21 June 2008). "Shami Chakrabarti: Heart of the matter – Profiles, People – The Independent". The Independent (London). 
  6. ^ "University of Essex :: Annual Review, 2005–2006 :: Honorary graduates". Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  7. ^ Leonard Leigh, "Terrorism and extradition: a British perspective" in "Terrorism and International Law", Routledge, 1997, pp. 166–184.
  8. ^ "Calls to the Bar", The Independent, 14 October 1994.
  9. ^ "Desert Island Discs featuring Shami Chakrabarti". Desert Island Discs. 2 November 2008. BBC. Radio 4.
  10. ^ British American Project
  11. ^ Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (17 March 2008). "This unhealthy strain of left-wing McCarthyism". The Independent (London). 
  12. ^ Chakrabarti, Shami (20 May 2007). "So much freedom lost and on my watch". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  13. ^ Doward, Jamie (22 June 2008). "Profile: Shami Chakrabarti, the undaunted freedom fighter". The Guardian (London). 
  14. ^ The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion
  15. ^ "Who runs Britain". Today Programme. BBC Radio 4. 2005. Retrieved May 2013. 
  16. ^ Channel 4 Political Awards Retrieved on 30 November 2008
  17. ^ Patrick Wintour "Chakrabarti threatens to sue over Minister's jibe", The Guardian, 20 June 2008
  18. ^ James Chapman "I may sue over David Davis slur, civil rights chief warns Minister", Daily Mail, 19 June 2008
  19. ^ Robert Winnett "Andy Burnham writes letter of apology to Shami Chakrabarti for David Davis comments", Daily Telegraph, 21 June 2008
  20. ^ Sylvester, Rachel; Thomson, Alice (18 April 2009). "Shami Chakrabarti was target in police search".  
  21. ^ Edwards, Richard; Prince, Rosa; Wardrop, Murray (18 April 2009). "Damian Green raid: police search emails for Liberty head".  
  22. ^ "Liberty's Director and the LSE", Liberty website, 11 March 2011
  23. ^ Vasagar, Jeevan; Syal, Rajeev (4 March 2011). "Howard Davies insists Gaddafi gifts did not undermine LSE's independence". The Guardian (London). 
  24. ^ Aked, Hilary. "Ironically Named 'Student Rights' Group Exposed by Actual Students". Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 April 2014. 
  25. ^ John Paul "LSE head resigns over Libya link", Jerusalem Post, 6 March 2011
  26. ^ Anna Davis, Peter Dominiczak and Joshua Neicho "LSE chief: It was not a mistake for us to train Libyan officials", Evening Standard, 4 March 2011
  27. ^ "Yard is called in over LSE's £1.5m from Gadaffi son", Sunday Times, 11 December 2011
  28. ^ a b Shami Chakrabarti disowns the LSE - Telegraph
  29. ^ Phone hacking: David Cameron names inquiry panel - Telegraph
  30. ^ Liberty's response to the Leveson Report
  31. ^
  32. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58358. p. 7. 16 June 2007. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
  33. ^ "UK to honour Shami Chakrabarti with honorary degree". The Times of India. 8 July 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  34. ^ Freedom to think. "Watch Shami Chakrabati accept her honorary doctorate". University of Glamorgan, UK. 
  35. ^ "Shami Chakrabarti presented with honorary doctorate". Middlesex University, London. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  36. ^ Shami » Spectator Blogs
  37. ^ BBC Radio 4, Woman's Hour Power list
  38. ^ "Human rights campaigner joins University". University of Manchester. 10 February 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  39. ^ Britain's movers and shakers | The Sunday Times
  40. ^ Paul Stuart | Thomas Heatherwick | The Sunday Times Magazine | Twenty Twentytwenty Twenty
  41. ^ "On Liberty"
  42. ^ Tweedie, Neil (15 June 2008). "Shami Chakrabarti: Why David Davis is right". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  43. ^ The world of... - Telegraph
  44. ^ "Liberty Director"
  45. ^ BBC - London - People - London People: Shami Chakrabarti


In 1995 Chakrabarti married Martyn Hopper, a city lawyer. The couple have one son and separated in 2012.[42][43][44] She lives in Lambeth, South London.[45]

Personal life

On 2 October 2014 On Liberty, Chakrabarti's first book, was published by Allen Lane.[41]

On Liberty

On 9 March 2014 she was included in The Sunday Times' "100 Makers of the 21st Century" list.[39][40]

On 10 February 2014 she was made an Honorary Professor of Law at the University of Manchester.[38]

In February 2013 she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[37]

On 27 July 2012, Shami Chakrabarti was one of eight Olympic Flag carriers dressed in white at the London 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony. The announcer incorrectly described her as "the founder of Liberty."[36]

On 18 July 2011 she received an honorary doctorate from Middlesex University in recognition of her achievements in the fields of law and human rights.[35]

with an Honorary Doctorate for her contribution to "the protection of civil liberties and promotion of human rights in the United Kingdom." [34] On 13 July 2011, Shami Chakrabarti was recognised by the

In a graduation ceremony on 21 July 2010, she received an honorary doctorate from the School of Law at University of Southampton.[33]

She was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2007 Queen's Birthday Honours.[32]

She has served as governor of the British Film Institute, and was a member of the Council and Court of Governors of the London School of Economics until April 2013.[28]

Chakrabarti is Chancellor of the University of Essex, and (until July 2015) of Oxford Brookes University; Visiting Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford; Honorary Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford; and a Master of the Bench of Middle Temple.

Awards and honours

She was one of two panel members to waive their right to claim fees or expenses for the duration of the inquiry.[31]

On behalf of Liberty, Chakrabarti welcomed the principal recommendation of a more robust and independent press self-regulator, but said Liberty would be unable to support the Report's last-resort alternative of compulsory statutory regulation.[30]

In July 2011, Chakrabarti was announced as one of the panel members of the Leveson Inquiry, a judicial inquiry into phone hacking in the UK. Chakrabarti described her invitation onto the Inquiry as 'a daunting privilege' and said it reflected Liberty's 'belief in an appropriate balance between personal privacy and media freedom and above all in the Rule of law'.[29]

The Leveson Inquiry

Howard Davies, LSE Director at the time, resigned over the issue, citing "personal error of judgement."[23] Chakrabarti was accused of hypocrisy by the Student Rights project of the Henry Jackson Society [24] as being "the director of a human rights group while legitimizing murderous regimes" as a governor of the LSE, and they called for her (and others) to resign from the LSE.[25] Anthony Glees, director of Buckingham University's Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies, also said Chakrabarti should resign.[26] On 9 December 2011, Chakrabarti wrote to the Metropolitan Police asking them to investigate the legality of the donations.[27] Chakrabarti admitted to feeling "bucketfuls" of embarrassment and shame about the affair and in April 2013 her spokesman confirmed that she had severed all ties with the LSE.[28]

When the London School of Economics accepted a £1.5 million donation from Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Chakrabarti was on the governing board of the institution. Chakrabarti stated that she did not "attend the 2009 Council meeting which approved a donation to the school from Saif Gaddafi's Foundation" and that she "only subsequently raised concerns about links with Mr Gaddafi, given his father's appalling regime." She went on to state that she did not think "the decision in question resulted from anything other than a naive assessment, made in good faith, of the democratic reforming ambitions of the dictator's son."[22]

London School of Economics

On 18 April 2009, it was reported in The Times and The Daily Telegraph that policemen who raided the parliamentary office of the Conservative frontbencher Damian Green and arrested him as part of an inquiry into the leaking of Home Office documents had searched through e-mails and computer documents going back a number of years using Chakrabarti's name as one of the keywords. The Times reported her as saying that she believed the actions of Scotland Yard's anti-terror squad "raises very serious questions about just how politicised, even McCarthyite, this operation was."[20][21]

Damian Green

In June 2008, Andrew Burnham, then British Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, made insinuations in an interview in Progress magazine at Shadow Home Secretary David Davis's resignation over the 42-day detention for terror suspects. Davis, a Conservative MP, was said by Burnham to have had "late-night, hand-wringing, heart-melting phone calls with Shami Chakrabarti." Chakrabarti received an apology from Burnham for his "innuendo and attempted character assassination".[17][18][19]

Andy Burnham controversy

She was also shortlisted in the Bob Geldof.[16]

In December 2005, the BBC Radio 4 Today programme ran a poll of listeners to establish "who runs Britain." After many hours of debate, Today placed Chakrabarti on the shortlist of ten people "who may run Britain."[15]

Chakrabarti is a frequently invited contributor to BBC Radio 4 and various newspapers on the topic of human rights and civil liberties. The Observer wrote that she puts in "seemingly endless appearances on Question Time and the rolling news bulletins".[13] She was also described in The Times newspaper as "the most effective public affairs lobbyist of the past 20 years"[14]

[12] After working as in-house counsel, Chakrabarti was appointed director of Liberty in 2003. As director, she has campaigned against what the pressure group sees as the "excessive" anti-terrorist measures that followed the


Chakrabarti is an alumna of the British-American Project, which promotes Anglo-American relations.[10][11]

On 10 September 2001, she joined the human rights organisation Liberty.[9]

She studied Law at the London School of Economics, at one point acting as a research assistant to Leonard Leigh who wrote a paper on the British approach to terrorism and extradition; the paper was published in early 1997.[7] After graduating with a Bachelor of Laws, Chakrabarti was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1994.[8] In 1996, she started working as a barrister for the Home Office.

Chakrabarti was born to Hindu-Bengali parents in the suburb of Kenton in the London Borough of Harrow. Her father, a bookkeeper, has been cited by Chakrabarti as an influence on her gaining an interest in civil liberties. She attended Bentley Wood High School, a girls' comprehensive school, then Harrow Weald Sixth Form College.[5] Chakrabarti was an active member of the Social Democratic Party from 1985 to 1987.[6]

Early life


  • Early life 1
  • Liberty 2
    • Andy Burnham controversy 2.1
    • Damian Green 2.2
    • London School of Economics 2.3
  • The Leveson Inquiry 3
  • Awards and honours 4
  • On Liberty 5
  • Personal life 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

[4].University of Essex In September 2014, she took up the role as Chancellor of the [3].Oxford Brookes University and, since July 2008, the Chancellor of [2]

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