Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Plain Speaking About Torture – Ireland’s Hooded Men Betrayed

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Hooded Men

On Tuesday March 20 2018 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decided that in August 1971, during an Internment Operation in the six counties of Northern Ireland, the British State did not torture a group of “Hooded Men”.  In plain language the ECHR says the British State did not, in this instance, deliberately inflict pain on captive persons.

Is that credible?  Consider this :

Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband Linked With Torture in Sri Lanka

Gareth Pierce is a distinguished human rights lawyer who helped free Irish people wrongly convicted by the British government. She wrote: “Torture is the deliberate infliction of pain by a state on captive persons. It is prohibited and so is the use of its product. The UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment emphasises that there are no exceptional circumstances at all justifying its use” According to Pierce, the British, during the Mandate period in Palestine, in Kenya and Northern Ireland mastered the art of the “lesser” tradition of stress torture, forced standing, forced sitting and choking with water, exposure to extremes of heat and cold, and suspension. “These tortures were clean and allowed for plausible denial not because they are less painful, but because they leave less of a visible mark.” Nonetheless, these tortures produce agonising muscle pain. The kidneys eventually shut down.

Amnesty International describes what the British State did to the Hooded Men in 1971 :

Amnesty International comments on a “disappointing” ruling

The detained men were interned in 1971, and subjected to sustained interrogation by the British Army and Royal Ulster Constabulary, involving the ‘five techniques’ of hooding, stress positions, white noise, sleep deprivation, and deprivation of food and water. These were combined with physical assaults and death threats, which the Court did not consider in its 1978 ruling.

Amnesty International’s full statement is, as Oscar Wilde might say, disappointing.

This ECHR ruling is careless – those six judges who left the British State off the hook don’t even know what torture looks like.

The surviving hooded men will not give up. Why should they? They were tortured.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by tomasoflatharta

Mar 20, 2018 at 11:51 pm

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