PoC is fortunate in having committed and experienced directors of our corporate trustee, Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund (Trustee) Limited (Co. No. 07690599). The trustee board meets quarterly, is fully involved in the key decisions affecting PoC and is actively involved in every application for assistance by prisoners of conscience.
David Lock QC (Chair) – David is a practising barrister at Landmark Chambers, London. He also sits as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Queen’s Bench and Family Divisions. He is a public law specialist and is the Legal500 Public Law QC of the year. He acts in cases concerning human rights, healthcare rights and in a variety of governance matters relating to public bodies. David has had a varied career, having served as a councillor, Member of Parliament, Government Minister and has chaired national public bodies such as the Service Authority of the National Criminal Intelligence Service. He has served as a member of the Board of a major NHS Trust and chaired the Board of the Birmingham Science Park for 5 years from 2013 to 2018. He has been married to Bernadette, a medical doctor who specialises in supporting victims of torture, for 35 years and they have 3 adult children, all of whom are pursuing their own interesting and varied careers. David and Bernadette are both keen cyclists and regularly take time out from their busy careers for extended cycling trips, which are recorded on their blog www.decade2australia.org.
Victoria Brittain (Vice-Chair) – Victoria brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the board. She is a former associate foreign editor at the Guardian, where she worked for 20 years. A much admired writer and journalist, she has written a number of books and plays, including Death of Dignity: Angola’s Civil War and was co-author of Moazzam Begg’s Guantanamo memoir, Enemy Combatant. John Pilger called her ‘one of the greatest reporters’. Her current book, Shadow Lives: The Forgotten Women of the War on Terror explores the impact on the wives and families of the men imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay and under house arrest in Britain and the US. Victoria is a Trustee of a number of small human rights charities.
Diba Alikhani – Diba is a women’s rights activist from Iran, now living in the UK. She was born in Kurdistan of Iran and had most of her career and education in Tehran. Diba worked with women and children since the age of 17. Since then and throughout her education, starting at Tehran University, she became aware of the notion of inequality. While in Iran she started an independent organization for supporting women- named “Jamea ye Zanan” meaning “Organization to support Women and Children. It was the first institution of its kind in Iran. After obtaining two master degrees in psychosocial studies and clinical psychology, Diba started to work as a therapist in the UK.
Dr Dorothy Connell – Dorothy has an MA and PhD from Harvard University in the USA, and has spent her working career in London as a manager, administrator, charity founder and fundraiser in the UK not-for-profit sector. Her career has coincided with the growing professionalisation of the sector. She is a long-standing member of the Institute of Fundraising and has developed considerable expertise in governance and guarding against reputational risk. As a senior and high-level fundraiser, she understands the necessary interaction between commercial and non-commercial sectors, and how to attain and report on financial and narrative goals as required by both donors and recipients. She has recently completed the Financial Times Diploma for Non-Executive Directors, which she feels will help her to be a more effective charity trustee. Dorothy co-founded in 1982 and still runs today the US/UK not-for-profit press Readers International, operating across the English-speaking world and seeking to promote greater knowledge of international fiction, especially outstanding works of fiction banned or censored for political reasons. She volunteers as a member of the Parochial Church Council of St Georges church in Bloomsbury, for which she helped raise major restoration funds during her work with the World Monuments Fund.
Jonathan Taylor – Jonathan is a chartered accountant employed by a ‘Big Four’ accountancy firm in London where the majority of his work focuses on the audit of tax disclosures in the accounts of multinational groups. He has an undergraduate masters degree from the University of Oxford.
Keith Davis – Keith is a qualified accountant and has spent most of his career working on value for money in the public sector. He is currently Director of environment value for money studies at the National Audit Office (NAO), and has previously led the NAO’s work on international development. He has worked in senior communications roles at the NAO and in HM Courts and Tribunals Service. He is a serving magistrate.
Mandira Sharma – Mandira is a lawyer and human rights defender from Nepal. For the last two decades, she has been working to promote human rights in rule of law in Nepal and in the Asia region. She co-founded Advocacy Forum in 2001, Nepal’s trailblazing organisation of human rights lawyers advocating for human rights and rule of law. Leading a team of more than 120 lawyers and HRDs working in AF from 2001-2010, she became the leading voice against impunity for gross violations of human rights in Nepal. She has done her Ph.D. from the University of Essex, UK. Her research includes transitional justice and accountability. She has also earned L.L.M. (Master of Law) from the same university. Mandira Sharma works as a Senior International Legal Adviser, taking responsibility for South Asia and Myanmar at the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). She is also the Chair of the Asian Alliance Against Torture and continues to Advise Advocacy Forum.
Dr Roger Harrison – Roger has long experience in management and international business gained mainly in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. On completing his doctorate in cancer therapeutics, he first spent ten years in research management, before moving into a business career which focused on identifying important medical innovations, and moving them from the laboratory into routine clinical use. He has worked in the UK, USA and continental Europe, has built and led several skilled international teams, and has served on corporate executive management boards. He has extensive experience in high-value commercialisation of important new therapeutics, spanning development and marketing, contract negotiation, and the operation of the large trans-national partnerships often needed to bring major, first-in-class medicines to market.
PoC benefits from the support of many distinguished patrons:
Lady Brooke, Lynn Carter, Lucy Chandler OBE, Dame Judi Dench DBE, Lady Antonia Fraser DBE, Roger Graef OBE, Rosamund Horwood-Smart QC, Kurt & Caroline Jackson, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Bruce Kent, Neil Latchman, Caroline Moorehead OBE, Rabbi Julia Neuberger DBE, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, The Hon Jonathon Porritt, Lord Puttnam CBE, Rev Dr Nicholas Sagovsky, Sir Tom Stoppard OM, Desmond Tutu Archbishop Emeritus, Zoë Wanamaker CBE.