UK Supreme Court to rule on Hooded Men case


The UK’s highest court is to decide whether there should be a police investigation into an allegation that the UK government authorized and used torture in the ‘hooded men’ case 50 years ago.

This was a group of 12 people selected for extreme interrogation techniques while interned in Northern Ireland in 1971.

Ahead of the judgment, one of them, Francis McGuigan, said: “I hope the Supreme Court’s findings provide the independent inquiry that I have awaited for fifty years.

The London court is also expected to rule on whether the PSNI is sufficiently independent to conduct such an investigation, following rulings in previous proceedings that it is not.

The hooded men were among the 350 people arrested during their internment in August 1971.

They were taken to Ballykelly Army Camp in Co Derry where they were subjected to treatment which judges in Northern Ireland said would amount to torture if it happened today.

This involved being hooded, placed in stressful positions for long periods of time, subjected to loud and sustained noise, and deprived of food, water and sleep.

The men also said they were beaten and thrown hooded from helicopters which they said were flying high but were in fact flying close to the ground.

The case has been appealed to Britain’s highest court following legal proceedings brought by one of the men and the daughter of another.

The Supreme Court will decide whether the PSNI was wrong in concluding that there was no evidence to justify an investigation into an allegation that the UK government authorized and used torture.

Judgment is expected to be delivered this morning.

The case has been one of Northern Ireland’s most controversial and longest-running legal disputes.

In 1978, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the UK had inflicted inhuman and degrading treatment, but failed to define it as torture.

In 2014, the Irish government asked the ECHR to revise its judgment following revelations in an RTÉ documentary that several British ministers had been made aware of the interrogation plan and that the severity of the impact of the techniques had been concealed in subsequent legal proceedings.

This request was rejected by the ECHR in 2018 and again later the same year when the decision was appealed by the Irish government.

The case is supported by Amnesty International in Northern Ireland.


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