Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Gaddafi sought political status for 'courageous' IRA prisoners

Muammar Gaddafi

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi urged the head of the United Nations to intervene and stop the IRA hunger strikes.

Comparing the deaths to ancient sacrifices and accusing Britain of lacking humanity, the Libyan dictator warned of a painful fallout if the prisoners were not granted political status.

Gaddafi said the hunger strikes were a "very painful human tragedy, a tragedy that should have shocked the conscience of the entire world".

"It appears that the world in which we live has lost its conscience," he said.

In the letter, addressed to Dr Kurt Waldheim, UN Secretary-General in 1981, Gaddafi said the prisoners' deaths were courageous.

"These men should be granted a political status in view of the fact that they are indeed fighting for a just and sacred cause, the freedom of their nation, which is one of the world's smallest, but which still has its place under the sun, free as God created it."

At the time, British authorities urged the UN not to circulate the letter. Irish civil servants in the UN and the political and Anglo-Irish sections of the Taoiseach's office insisted there should be no reply.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife Galleries

More

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz