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Bloody Sunday prosecutions would be disastrous, says DUP MP Gregory Campbell

In Pictures: Bloody Sunday... images from the Belfast Telegraph archives Close

St Mary's Church, on the Creggan Estate, during the Requiem Mass for the 13 who died on 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry.

St Mary's Church, on the Creggan Estate, during the Requiem Mass for the 13 who died on 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry.

PA

30th January 1972: An armed soldier and a protestor on Bloody Sunday when British Paratroopers shot dead 13 civilians on a civil rights march.

30th January 1972: An armed soldier and a protestor on Bloody Sunday when British Paratroopers shot dead 13 civilians on a civil rights march.

Frederick Hoare

Hugh Gilmore (third left) seen clutching his stomach as he is shot during Bloody Sunday.

Hugh Gilmore (third left) seen clutching his stomach as he is shot during Bloody Sunday.

PA

A young Fr Edward Daly carries a blood-soaked hankie as he leads a group of men trying desperately to carry John 'Jackie' Duddy to safety. Duddy (17) was the first fatality of Bloody Sunday after being shot from behind by paratroopers

A young Fr Edward Daly carries a blood-soaked hankie as he leads a group of men trying desperately to carry John 'Jackie' Duddy to safety. Duddy (17) was the first fatality of Bloody Sunday after being shot from behind by paratroopers

Paddy Doherty, who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Paddy Doherty, who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

A scene showing a British paratrooper near Glenfada Park in Derry where Bloody Sunday took place.

A scene showing a British paratrooper near Glenfada Park in Derry where Bloody Sunday took place.

William McKinney, killed on Bloody Sunday.

William McKinney, killed on Bloody Sunday.

Lt Col Derek Wilford, the former commander of the members of the Parachute Regiment involved in the Bloody Sunday shootings

Lt Col Derek Wilford, the former commander of the members of the Parachute Regiment involved in the Bloody Sunday shootings

PA

A protest parade in was staged in Londonderry in January to mark the 40th anniversary of Bloody Sunday

A protest parade in was staged in Londonderry in January to mark the 40th anniversary of Bloody Sunday

Hugh Gilmore who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Hugh Gilmore who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday Trust

Michael McDaid who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Michael McDaid who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday Trust

Bloody Sunday:  Up to 20 soldiers still face being formally questioned by police for alleged murder, attempted murder or criminal injury during the notorious incident

Bloody Sunday: Up to 20 soldiers still face being formally questioned by police for alleged murder, attempted murder or criminal injury during the notorious incident

Fred Hoare

Soldiers taking cover behind their sandbagged armoured cars during  Bloody Sunday

Soldiers taking cover behind their sandbagged armoured cars during Bloody Sunday

PA

Lord Chief Justice, Lord Widgery in his room at the Old Bailey as he looks through his report on the "Bloody Sunday" shootings

Lord Chief Justice, Lord Widgery in his room at the Old Bailey as he looks through his report on the "Bloody Sunday" shootings

PA

Jim Wray who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Jim Wray who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday Trust

John Young who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

John Young who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday Trust

William McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

William McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday Trust

Kevin McElhinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Kevin McElhinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday Trust

Gerard McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Gerard McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday Trust

Gerald Donaghey who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Gerald Donaghey who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday Trust

Alana Burke who was eighteen when she was run over by an armoured personnel carrier on Bloody Sunday.

Alana Burke who was eighteen when she was run over by an armoured personnel carrier on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday. January 1972

Bloody Sunday. January 1972

Patrick Doherty who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Patrick Doherty who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday Trust

Bloody Sunday. Funeral. Mrs Ita McKinney, 9 months pregnant cries behind the hearse carrying her husband James from St Mary's, Creggan.  2/2/1972.

Bloody Sunday. Funeral. Mrs Ita McKinney, 9 months pregnant cries behind the hearse carrying her husband James from St Mary's, Creggan. 2/2/1972.

Michael Kelly  who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Michael Kelly who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Scenes from 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Scenes from 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry, Northern Ireland

A man receiving attention during the shooting incident in Londonderry, which became known as Bloody Sunday

A man receiving attention during the shooting incident in Londonderry, which became known as Bloody Sunday

Bloody Sunday.   30/1/1972

Bloody Sunday. 30/1/1972

Bloody Sunday.   30/1/1972

Bloody Sunday. 30/1/1972

JAMES WRAY IN HIS HOME IN THE BOGSIDE DERRY HOLDING THE COAT WITH BULLIET HOLES IN THAT  HIS SON ALSO CALLED JAMES WRAY WAS KILLED ON BLOODY SUNDAY

JAMES WRAY IN HIS HOME IN THE BOGSIDE DERRY HOLDING THE COAT WITH BULLIET HOLES IN THAT HIS SON ALSO CALLED JAMES WRAY WAS KILLED ON BLOODY SUNDAY

Bloody Sunday.   30/1/1972

Bloody Sunday. 30/1/1972

The start of a grim day in Derry. Civil Rights marchers make their way through Creggan.  They defied a Government ban and headed for Guildhall Square, but were stopped by the Army in William Street.  31/1/1972

The start of a grim day in Derry. Civil Rights marchers make their way through Creggan. They defied a Government ban and headed for Guildhall Square, but were stopped by the Army in William Street. 31/1/1972

Bloody Sunday 1972

Bloody Sunday 1972

Linda Nash carries flowers with the number 14 inscribed during yesterdays annual Bloody Sunday Parade in Derry. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 29.1.12

Linda Nash carries flowers with the number 14 inscribed during yesterdays annual Bloody Sunday Parade in Derry. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 29.1.12

Martin McKeown

A memorial to those killed on Bloody Sunday in the Bogside area of Derry

A memorial to those killed on Bloody Sunday in the Bogside area of Derry

The memorial to the 14 people who died on Bloody Sunday in Derry rises from among the sea of umbrellas as all the families came together in an ecumenical service. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights mark.The service included contributions from Father Michael Canny and Reverend David Latimer, left.  Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 29.1.12

The memorial to the 14 people who died on Bloody Sunday in Derry rises from among the sea of umbrellas as all the families came together in an ecumenical service. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights mark.The service included contributions from Father Michael Canny and Reverend David Latimer, left. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 29.1.12

Martin McKeown

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St Mary's Church, on the Creggan Estate, during the Requiem Mass for the 13 who died on 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry.

Prosecuting Bloody Sunday soldiers for murder could prove disastrous for efforts to deal with Northern Ireland's troubled past, a senior unionist politician has claimed.

The DUP's Gregory Campbell has said prosecuting retired soldiers for murder, while republicans behind other Troubles attacks are not pursued by the authorities, would demonstrate "the perversity at the heart of dealing with the past".

The East Londonderry MP's comments come after reports that up to 20 retired British soldiers face being arrested and questioned by the police for murder, attempted murder or criminal injury over their roles in the events of January 30, 1972.

The shooting in the nationalist Bogside area of Derry left 14 people dead and many others injured.

A source told the Sunday Times the interviews under police caution were "expected imminently".

However, last night a source close to the investigation told the Belfast Telegraph that at this stage interviews into the massacre 41 years ago are not expected to take place for another 12 months.

The PSNI confirmed it would be conducting a murder investigation last July, after police officers and staff from the Public Prosecution Service reviewed the findings of the £200m, 12-year Saville Inquiry, published just over three years ago.

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Lord Saville concluded all those shot by paratroopers during the civil rights march in Derry were unarmed and that the killings were "unjustified and unjustifiable".

The inquiry found that 26 soldiers, including privates, corporals, lance corporals and sergeants had opened fire, although not all of them had hit marchers and bystanders.

It also said two soldiers, identified only as Lance-Corporal F and Soldier G, probably shot "eight or 10 people".

After publication of the report in June 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron made a formal public apology to the families for the actions of the Army on one of the most controversial days in Northern Ireland's history.

The PSNI has previously said it expects the murder investigation to take at least four years and involve a team of 30 detectives.

Fresh interviews have to be conducted, as police are precluded from using Saville testimony in a criminal investigation.

In a statement, Mr Campbell said: "If newspaper reports prove to be accurate that soldiers who were in the Bogside in Londonderry on the day known as Bloody Sunday are to be prosecuted, this could prove disastrous in how our society deals with the past.

"For many years those at the helm in the IRA have either denied being in the organisation, like Gerry Adams, or will not talk about any events that happened when they were, like Martin McGuinness.

"This has resulted in no action by police or Prosecution Service against them.

"If it transpires that troops, who were in the Bogside because of the actions of the IRA who had murdered more than 100 people before Bloody Sunday and had caused massive destruction and unrest also, this would demonstrate the perversity at the heart of dealing with the past.

"I was criticised at the time of the Saville Report. I hope those who would normally be on the side of those of us who are opposed to violent republicanism but who applauded David Cameron's apology will have the decency to hang their heads in shame if this report proves to be accurate."

BACKGROUND

On January 30, 1972, paratroopers opened fire on civil rights marchers in the Bogside area of Derry. Thirteen males, including seven teenagers, died instantly or soon after. Fourteen others were wounded, including John Johnston, who died four-and-a-half months later from his injuries. The 1972 Widgery Inquiry into what became known as Bloody Sunday was regarded as a whitewash by nationalists.

A fresh investigation – The Saville Inquiry – ran from 1998 to 2010 and cost more than £200m. The inquiry included 2,500 witness statements, 922 oral statements, 160 volumes of evidence, 121 audiotapes and 110 videotapes. On June 15, 2010. The 14 Bloody Sunday victims were: John Young (17); Gerald Donaghy (17); John 'Jackie' Duddy (17); Hugh Gilmour (17); Michael Kelly (17); Michael McDaid (20); Kevin McElhinney (17); William Nash (19); James Wray (22); William McKinney (27); Patrick Doherty (31); Gerard McKinney (35); Bernard McGuigan (41), and John Johnston (59).


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