Hooded Men ruling risks new era of torture

Last year I wrote for the Pat Finucane Centre (PFC) on documents which raised questions about the role of MI5 in the handling of internees in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s.
I had some hope that this material might be examined if the European Court of Human Rights reviewed its 1978 ruling that a group of internees known as the 'Hooded Men' had been subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment but not torture. The Irish government had applied for such a review based partly on archival evidence uncovered by the PFC, which suggested that the British Government had misled the original court.
Sadly, that application was rejected today.  We can only hope that there will be an appeal to the court's Grand Chamber. The danger is that if this outcome stands, it will strengthen those forces around the world which have sought to interpret the 1978 ruling as a blueprint for legally permissible torture.







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