Belfast Telegraph

'We were beaten unconscious on numerous occasions': Hooded Men speak after judgement

Seven of the 14 ‘Hooded Men' following a press conference at KRW Law in Belfast (Brian Lawless/PA)
Seven of the 14 ‘Hooded Men' following a press conference at KRW Law in Belfast (Brian Lawless/PA)

Two of the so-called Hooded Men at the centre of a judgement from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) have spoken about their experience.

The group of 14 men taking the case claimed that they had been subject to torture by the British Army while interned in 1971.

In 1978 the ECHR held the UK had carried out inhuman and degrading treatment but not torture.

The case had been taken forward by the Irish state and had the backing of Amnesty International and other international bodies.

The ECHR stated it had rejected the request to revise the 1978 judgement on the grounds the Irish government had not "demonstrated the existence of facts that were unknown to the court at the time or which would have had a decisive influence on the original judgment".

Appearing on BBC's Evening Extra radio programme, two of the men included in the group Jim Auld and Joe Clarke expressed their disappointment in the judgement, and described the treatment they were subjected to while interned.

"I was disappointed and feel frustrated and feel angry at the court’s ruling," said Mr Auld.

"It leaves us in a position where we need to do more in order to try and move things forward. And we are reliant on other people, we are reliant on the Irish government in putting forward an appeal to get this decision overturned."

Mr Clarke said: "We were lead to believe that the first ruling was that it wasn’t authorised at a high level. It was very disappointing that we didn’t get the result."

Describing the treatment he was subjected to, Mr Auld said: "To characterise it as punishment doesn’t do it justice. This was torture. This was a systematic approach by the government to try and break us, both physically and mentally. And that consisted of stripping us, putting us in a boiler suit and putting a hood over our heads, making us stand in a stress position without food or water. And with a piped noise going through your head.

"And we were left like that for seven days and seven nights without a break. All during that period of time we were beaten and we were beaten unconscious on numerous occasions."

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the ruling will be "fully considered by the Government".

"It is important to note that, although the Court dismissed the Government’s application for a revision, nothing in today’s judgment alters the Court’s original 1978 ruling that the men suffered inhuman and degrading treatment, in breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights," he said.

"My thoughts today are with the men who suffered this treatment, and who have had to deal with the long-lasting effects. I know that they will be understandably disappointed with this morning’s judgment.

"I am due to meet the men in the coming weeks, and look forward to hearing their views."

Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson said she would continue to raise the case of the Hooded Men at European level.

"I want to commend the men involved and their supporters and representatives for the way their have carried out their campaign and I have no doubt that they will continue to campaign for truth and justice and will have my continued support in doing so," she said.

“I have repeatedly raised their cause in Europe and brought some of those involved and their supporters to Europe to meet with legislators as part of their campaign."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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