SDLP leader Mark Durkan has welcomed the support 23 MPs of all parties for his motion calling for human rights abusers to be banned from the British Army. The number of signatures has since increased to 26.
Speaking today Mr Durkan stated:
“This is an encouraging step forward in our campaign, working in partnership with other parties and the Pat Finucane Centre to demand that the British army lives up to proper Human Rights standards and stops excusing criminal behaviour by its members. I am delighted that Joan Humble and Jim Dobbin of the Labour Party and Sarah Teather of the Liberal Democrats are playing such a strong role in this campaign. The motion comes after our public meeting in Westminster at which some of the Deepcut families spoke. They feel a sense of insult and betrayal at being denied investigation, justice or truth for their sons who died in army barracks.
This Early Day Motion has been tabled five years after the death of Tony Green, who was shot at Ballykelly Barracks by a man who was convicted of manslaughter but then readmitted to the British Army and promoted. It also comes at a time when Jean McBride is still demanding a meeting with Tony Blair and the expulsion of the murderers of her son Peter, from the British Army.
Our motion demands that all those convicted of murder, rape, torture and other serious crimes, are expelled from the army. Armies are meant to protect the public, that’s why they shouldn’t have serving in their ranks those who have murdered, raped and tortured. It is as simple as that. As the next step in our campaign we will be proposing amendments to the Armed Forces Bill currently going through Westminster to make the principles behind our campaign requirements of law. If the British Government are at all serious about human rights we hope that they will get serious about this campaign and back our amendments and Early Day motion”. (SDLP)
Cumbrian newspaper the News and Star has more details on the Tony Green case:
Corporal Tony Green, 25, of the Royal Scots Regiment, was fatally wounded in January 2001 at Shackleton Barracks in Ballykelly, Northern Ireland, by Private William Graham, 24.
The accidental shooting led to Graham’s prosecution for manslaughter.
Despite the conviction, he was allowed to return to continue his Army career and even won pro motion to Lance Corporal.
Corporal Green’s mother Liz, 50, who lived in the Stanwix area of Carlisle at the time of the tragedy, spoke out yesterday [WEDS] – five years to the day since her son’s death – as MPs in the Com mons discussed demands for sol diers to be sacked if they are convicted of crimes or human rights abuses. (News and Star)