Northern Ireland

Hooded men clear first stage in legal battle

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Media captionNine of the original "hooded men" were in Dublin last year to hear a call for the Irish government to take the UK to the European Court

A group of men who said they were tortured in Northern Ireland have cleared the first stage in a battle to have their case fully investigated.

The group, known as the "hooded men" were interned in 1971.

Their lawyers were granted leave to seek a judicial review at the High Court in Belfast on Thursday.

They are calling the chief constable, secretary of state and Department of Justice to account over alleged failures to order a full inquiry.

Fourteen men said they were subjected to torture techniques after being held without trial back in 1971.

They said they were forced to listen to constant loud static noise; deprived of sleep, food and water; forced to stand in a stress position and beaten if they fell.

They said they were hooded and thrown to the ground from helicopters - despite being at near ground level, they had been told they were hundreds of feet in the air.

In 1978, the European Court of Human Rights held that the UK had carried out inhuman and degrading treatment.

However, the court fell short of defining this treatment as "torture".

Last year, the Irish Government said it would ask the European Court to revise this judgement.

Eleven of the men are now working with lawyers to secure a full inquiry.

Separate proceedings have also been lodged by the daughter of Sean McKenna, another of the group whose death has been blamed on his treatment.

Granting leave to seek a judicial review in both applications, Mr Justice Treacy ruled that they should proceed "in tandem".

He listed the cases for full hearing over four days starting on 30 November.

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