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Soldiers will be treated fairly in NI Troubles probes: PM Theresa May

By Jonathan Bell

Soldiers who served in Northern Ireland through the Troubles will be treated fairly by any organisation set up to investigate legacy issues, the Prime Minister has said.

Theresa May was responding to a question from conservative MP Richard Benyon. He  asked if it was time to draw a line under prosecuting Troubles-era soldiers saying it was not right they were "hounded into old age".

In response, Mrs May said that bodies set up to investigate the past would be under legal obligation to be "fair balanced and proportionate".

"That will make sure our veterans are not unfairly treated or disproportionately investigated," she said.

"And that will reflect the fact 90% of deaths during in the Troubles were caused by Terrorists and not by the armed forces.

"But investigations by PSNI are matter for them as they are independent of government."

She added: "We are unstinting in our admiration in role armed forces played in ensuring future of Northern Ireland could only ever be determined by democracy and consent.

"And the overwhelming majority served with great distinction and we do indeed owe them a great debt of gratitude."

There have been repeated calls for an end to the prosecution of soldiers for possible offences committed in duty. Earlier this year protests were held across the UK, including in Belfast for an end to the "witch hunts".

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