Hooded Men case could be reviewed by European Court

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The Irish government is to ask the European Court to revisit its decision in the case of the Hooded Men.

Lurgan man Gerry McKerr is among the 14 interned men who claim they were tortured by the British authorities in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.

This week they forced the Irish Government to apply for the European Court of Human Rights to review its decision from 1978 which found that, while the 14 men were subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, they were not tortured.

Since the broadcast of the RTÉ documentary, the Torture Files by Rita O’Reilly, there have been public calls for the reopening of the case of the Hooded Men.

While all of the men were interned, none was ever convicted. The Ministry of Defence has consistently rejected allegations that it used torture.

In the face of consistent representations by each of the men, their legal team, various politicians, and renowned campaign groups including Spirasi, The Pat Finucane Centre and Amnesty International, the Irish government announced on Tuesday they would be asking for the European Court to revise its judgement.

Lurgan man Jim McIlmurray, Chairperson for the Hooded Men Campaign, said: “It is now apparently clear that the European Court of Human Rights was misled by a British Medical Expert. The Attorney General’s delay, and refusal to take the case is irrational given the circumstances.”

The Irish Foreign Affairs minister Charlie Flanagan said: “On the basis of the new material uncovered, it will be contended that the ill-treatment suffered by the hooded men should be recognised as torture. The government’s decision was not taken lightly. As EU partners, UK and Ireland have worked together to promote human rights in many fora and during the original case, the UK did not contest before the European Court of Human Rights that a breach of Article 3 took place.”