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George Clooney coming to Belfast with lawyer wife Amal

By Cate McCurry

Published 11/05/2015

Amal and George Clooney attending the premiere of Disney movie Tomorrowland in California at the weekend
Amal and George Clooney attending the premiere of Disney movie Tomorrowland in California at the weekend
Ted Heath

Hollywood star George Clooney will join his barrister wife Amal when she travels to Belfast next month as part of the legal team representing the so-called 'hooded men'.

As one of the UK's top human rights lawyers, Mrs Clooney, who married her A-list husband last year, will meet some of the men who claim they were tortured by the Army in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.

The group of 14 men have said they were hooded, forced to listen to constant loud static noise, deprived of sleep, food and water, forced to stand in stress positions and beaten if they fell.

Mrs Clooney has worked on some prominent legal cases, with clients including Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder fighting extradition from the UK to Sweden, as well as acting for the Greek government in a campaign for the return of the Elgin Marbles.

It has emerged that as part of the case, she will accuse former Conservative Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath (below) of authorising the torture.

In 1976 the European Commission on Human Rights upheld a complaint by the Irish government that the men had been tortured, a ruling that was later overturned on appeal. The European Court ruled that the men had been subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment, but not torture. In December, the Irish government backed the men's campaign to have the case reopened, stating that their treatment should be recognised as torture after new evidence emerged in British files.

Mrs Clooney was brought on to the case by solicitors Kevin R Winters and Co.

It is expected that her Hollywood heartthrob husband will accompany her to Belfast after he talked about his links to Ireland. His great, great grandfather Nicholas Clooney was from Kilkenny.

He said: "I'm embarrassed that I've never been properly there before now. I've been talking about going there for years and Bono has been trying to get me to do a bike ride around Ireland with him.

"I'm definitely going to make a visit this summer. Amal has been several times, so she can show me around."

Background

The 14 'hooded men' were held under the internment without trial policy in 1971. Techniques used included hooding suspects, putting them into stress positions, sleep deprivation, food and water deprivation and the use of white noise. Some were thrown from helicopters after being told they were high in the air when they were only feet from the ground.

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