The Hooded Men

KRW LAW LLP is instructed by a number of The Hooded Men, those interned by the British government in August 1971. These 12 men became the guinea pigs in the British army’s deployment of ‘deep interrogation’ or what has become known as The Five Techniques. These techniques had been developed in the post-war colonial insurgency conflicts and were used until at least 2003 and the British military occupation of Iraq, their use being exposed in the Baha Mousa Inquiry Report of 2011. 

The techniques had been nominally banned by the British government in 1972 but their use persisted. The European Commission condemned them as torture and the European Court of Human Rights ruled that they amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment in the landmark judgment of Ireland v UK. The use of Five Techniques against The Hooded Men was never investigated at the time, as noted by the European Commission. Lawyers now accept that the treatment of The Hooded Men would now constitute torture. Following the recent RTE documentary on The Hooded Men there is now new archival material available which may amount to new evidence and certainly points to the fact that the authorisation of torture was sanctioned at a senior political level within the British government at the time. On the foot of the RTE programme, the Northern Ireland Policing Board asked the PSNI to investigate the allegations. In response to this and to representations made by KRW LAW LLP, the PSNI recently confirmed in a five line letter received by us on 17 October 2014, that following an investigation by the HET there was no substance to the allegations of torture being authorised by the British government.

We do not consider this an adequate response and we do not consider that the PSNI, as the descendant of the RUC who benefitted from the intelligence extracted through torture, could conduct an investigation to required human rights standards. This is why we wrote to the London Metropolitan Police requesting that they conduct an investigation. We have now received a response that the MET are considering our request at a senior level. Both letters have been sent to the Northern Ireland Policing Board. In the interim we are lodging judicial proceedings to ensure that the torture of The Hooded Men is investigated in accordance with human rights standards.