Northern Ireland

Amnesty calls for investigation into waterboarding claims

Reconstruction of water boarding Image copyright ABC
Image caption Allegations of waterboarding were raised during a BBC Radio Ulster documentary.

Amnesty International has called for a police investigation into allegations of torture, including waterboarding, by members of the RUC and British army in Northern Ireland in the 1970s.

The allegations were broadcast in a BBC Radio Ulster documentary, Inside The Torture Chamber.

It revealed that waterboarding was used in Belfast 40 years ago by the Army.

It is also alleged that RUC detectives used waterboarding in Castlereagh police station, in Belfast.

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland programme director of Amnesty International, called on the PSNI to launch a criminal investigation into "these serious allegations".

Waterboarding is a technique that involves a cloth being placed over a person's face and water being poured over it to simulate the effects of drowning.

'Public outcry'

Mr Corrigan said: "In the 1970s Amnesty International investigated and exposed allegations of torture by the security forces in Northern Ireland.

"Despite a public outcry and a public renunciation of torture by the prime minister of the time, it seems that sections of the security forces in Northern Ireland may have continued this criminal activity.

"Torture is a crime under national or international law. If anyone carries out a crime, they should be held accountable for that before the law. To date, no-one has been held properly accountable for such torture."

He said any senior members of the security forces who may have ordered the use of torture, and any police officers and soldiers who followed such criminal orders, must not be beyond the law.

He added: "Such human rights violations should also be subject to a wider inquiry into the past in Northern Ireland. We must learn the lessons of our painful past, including that the use of torture should forever be placed beyond the limits of acceptability for the police and armed forces."

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