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Vigilante justice is a brutal reminder of dark days


A victim tarred and feathered in Taughmonagh in 2007

A victim tarred and feathered in Taughmonagh in 2007

A victim tarred and feathered in Taughmonagh in 2007

The humiliating form of public punishment inflicted on two men on the run in south Armagh at the weekend will bring back memories for many of some of the darkest days of the Troubles.

Images of James White (48) and Jason Lydiard (26), also known as Alexis Guesto, covered in grey paint and with their hands tied behind their backs on a bench in the quiet village, have been shared widely on social media.

It's over a decade since the last tarring and feathering, a punishment designed to publicly humiliate and degrade those accused of crime - although not always convicted of it.

In August 2007, shocking pictures emerged of a Belfast man being tied to a lamppost before he was tarred and feathered by two hooded men.

The alleged drug dealer was targeted in the loyalist Taughmonagh estate in south Belfast by two men wearing balaclavas, as a crowd including women and children looked on. After having tar poured over his head, the victim was covered in feathers and a placard was then placed around his neck reading: "I'm a drug-dealing scumbag".

In the spring of 2003, two teenagers from the Ardoyne area of north Belfast were stripped, tied up outside the Shamrock Club and covered in tar, oil and paint. The act was carried out by the INLA for alleged anti-social behaviour in the republican stronghold.

In the 1970s, tarring and feathering was a popular form of punishment carried out by paramilitaries.

It dates back to the Crusades when it was used to enforce informal justice throughout Europe and its colonies.

Many victims were women accused of conducting sexual relationships with British soldiers or members of the RUC.

The terrifying attacks saw women having their heads shaved before being dragged and tied to a lamppost and having hot tar poured over their heads.

This was followed by feathers being dumped over them, which would stick to the tar for days, acting as a reminder of their so-called 'crime' against their community.

Belfast Telegraph