Belfast Telegraph

Unionist MLA calls for European court to look into IRA crimes after 'hooded men' torture case rejected

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) should look into crimes committed by the IRA following the court's ruling that men detained by the British Army in Northern Ireland in 1971 did not suffer torture, a unionist MLA has said.

The ECHR rejected a request by the Irish government to find that the so-called "hooded men" suffered torture while interned by the British army at a base in Ballykelly.

Dismissing the request by six votes to one, the ECHR said there was “no justification” to revise a 1978 ruling which found the treatment of the men was inhumane and degrading.

The court said new evidence had not demonstrated the existence of facts that were not known to the court at the time or which could have had a decisive influence on the original judgment.

Doug Beattie, an Ulster Unionist MLA and a former soldier, hit out at comments made by Martina Anderson following the court's ruling.

He said: “I note that the ECHR has rejected a request to find that a number of men detained by the Army in Northern Ireland in 1971 suffered torture, in a case brought by the Government of the Republic of Ireland.

“I also note Martina Anderson’s comments that ‘It is clear the five cruel techniques that the British State used against 14 men is torture. Justice will be heard.’

Mr Beattie, who was a captain in the British Army, continued: "Amongst the thousands of IRA victims were cases of people being abducted, held, tortured and murdered. Some were left at the side of a lonely border road. Others were dumped in unmarked and secret graves.

“Unlike the ‘hooded men’ they were not alive to tell the tale in a courtroom.

“The IRA was promoted, endorsed and justified by Sinn Fein for decades, and still is to this very day. Many people will now be asking if the Irish Government would be prepared to take such a stand for the victims of the IRA.

“Given the number of self-styled ‘human rights’ lawyers in Northern Ireland, one would have thought there would be no shortage of takers to highlight undoubted instances of crimes against humanity – including abduction, torture, murder and the targeting of civilians.

“Surely that should would be of interest to the European Court of Human Rights?”

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