The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the treatment of the so-called ‘hooded men’ by the British Army did not amount to torture.
The 14 men were detained in Northern Ireland in 1971 and interrogated by British Authorities using sensory deprivation techniques the European Commission described as torture.
They were hooded, beaten; deprived of sleep, food and water and forced to listen to loud static noise while being held without trial in Northern Ireland.
The men have also said they were dangled from a helicopter and told they were high in the air while wearing the hoods.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 1978 that, while the men had suffered ‘inhuman and degrading treatment’ at the hands of the British authorities; that treatment did not amount to torture.
In 2014, the Irish Government sought a review of that decision based on new evidence uncovered by Prime Time.
This morning, the court rejected the appeal.
It ruled that the Government had not demonstrated the existence of new facts that were unknown to the Court in 1978 or which would have had a decisive influence on the original judgment.
Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland Colm O’Gorman said it is a narrow technical decision that doesn’t mean the men weren’t tortured:
“The court has found today that, by the standards applied in 1978, even if all of this evidence had of been before the court, it is likely that the court would have made the same finding – i.e that the men were subjected cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment but not necessarily torture.” he said.
“By today’s standards, there is no doubt about the fact that the court would have found torture and that needs to be understood.”