News

'Hooded men' get judicial review over allegations of British Army torture

NewsBy Jamie McDowell
Some of the remaining members of the 'hooded men'
Some of the remaining members of the 'hooded men'

The so-called 'hooded men' who claim they were tortured by the British Army in 1971 have been granted a judicial review of the decision not to allow an independent inquiry to take place.

The application was heard at Belfast's High Court today (Thursday).

In August 1971, the 14 men say they had hoods pulled over their heads and were put in a British Army helicopter before being flown to a secret location and held unlawfully.

They claim that while they were there they were subjected to torture and interrogation.

The men have been supported in their call for an independent inquiry by Amnesty International. 

Patrick Corrigan from Amnesty Northern Ireland said: “It is utterly unacceptable that, in 43 years, the UK authorities have never conducted a proper investigation into the abuse and that no-one has ever been held accountable before the law.

 

“The UK, as a signatory of the UN Convention against Torture and the European Convention on Human Rights, must establish an independent, effective investigation into the alleged actions of its agents and its decision-makers in these cases and bring to justice those responsible for torture, at all levels.”

International lawyer Amal Clooney, wife of Hollywood actor George Clooney, is part of the team representing the 'hooded men'.

 Amal Clooney is part of the team representing the 'hooded men'

The men say that they are holding the chief constable, the secretary of state and the Department of Justice to account over their alleged failures to launch an inquiry.

They claim that they were thrown from helicopters that were hovering just above the ground after they were made to believe that they were hundreds of feet up.

The men also say that they were subjected to white noise, starved, deprived of sleep and forced to stand in 'stress positions'.

If they fell or collapsed they were beaten.

One of the men, Sean McKenna, has since died.

His daughter has launched separate proceedings, as she believes his alleged torture by the British Army caused his ill health and eventual death.

Mr Justice Treacy said that both of the cases should go forward together, scheduling four days for a full hearing starting on November 30.