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  1. ITV Report

Amnesty calls for probe into NI torture allegations

More allegations have been made regarding the torture of prisoners by the British Army in NI during the Troubles. Credit: UTV

A call has been made for an investigation into allegations of torture – including waterboarding and electrocution – carried out in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.

Amnesty International is urging the UK government to look into claims, reported by Channel 4 News, that the Parachute Regiment tortured prisoners and then Prime Minister Edward Heath knew about it.

The broadcaster said a witness outlined how the regiment commandeered a primary school in west Belfast to use as a base for interrogation and torture.

Channel 4 also spoke to two men who said they were subjected to waterboarding – a torture technique which gives a sensation of drowning.

They spoke out after new US President Donald Trump condoned waterboarding and the British government condemned it.

Channel 4 News broadcast a 'secret government memo' which included details of torture methods used.

The allegations against the UK are extremely grave - that they tortured their own citizens, and that this was known about and covered up at the highest levels of government.

This matter could not be more serious and merits a full, independent investigation.

– Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International NI
Channel 4 News reported that concerns had been raised by the Taoiseach with then British PM Edward Heath.

The broadcaster revealed what it said was a secret government memo showing that the British PM ignored the concerns of then Taoiseach Jack Lynch about allegations of torture.

The archived document was uncovered by the Pat Finucane Centre.

Amnesty has previously called for an independent investigation into allegations that the so-called Hooded Men were tortured in1971.

“Over four decades after torture in Northern Ireland was first exposed by Amnesty International and others, the UK authorities have still never conducted a proper investigation into the abuse and no-one - not the people who carried out the abuse, nor the people who authorised it - has ever been held accountable before the law,” Amnesty’s NI Programme Director Patrick Corrigan said.

“These latest revelations add to what has already been revealed from UK government archives about the apparent authorisation of torture at Cabinet level in the Hooded Men case in 1971.

“The UK, as a signatory of the UN Convention against Torture and the European Convention on Human Rights, must now 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.”

Lord Paddy Ashdown, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, has also called for the truth to come out.