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Amal Clooney Accuses British Government Of Torture

Amal Clooney, human rights lawyer and wife of Hollywood actor George, is taking on a massive legal challenge – accusing the British government for acts of torture during the Troubles in Northern Ireland AND of lying about it in court.

The 14 men were subjected to hooding, stress positions, white noise, sleep deprivation and starvation, as well as to beatings and death threats. Some claim they were also thrown from helicopters while their heads were covered with hoods. Because of this, the case has become known as the ‘Hooded Man’ case.

Mrs Clooney – who has recently joined the legal team representing the victims – has to prove that the abuse amounts to torture, rather than the lesser category of “inhuman and degrading treatment”. If she succeeds, then not only will the government be shamed and embarrassed, but the law books may have to be rewritten and the use of such heinous torture techniques seriously hindered.

The Independent reports:

Amal Clooney is about to take on one of her biggest legal challenges yet – accusing the British government of committing torture in Troubles-era Northern Ireland, then then lying about it to the European Court of Human Rights.
The accusations will be levelled in a high-profile case due to come before the Strasbourg Court. The outcome could rewrite the law books and help to combat the use of torture globally.

Here’s what happened. In August 1971 the UK authorities arrested and interned hundreds of men in Northern Ireland. Fourteen were selected for “special treatment” in a specially-built interrogation centre at a British Army camp.

The men claim they were subjected to “five techniques” of hooding, stress positions, white noise, sleep deprivation and deprivation of food and water – combined with brutal beatings and death threats. Some were also reportedly thrown from helicopters while their heads were covered with hoods.

Allegations soon emerged of abuse. In the same year, Amnesty International sent its first ever research mission to the UK to investigate, interviewing the men and finding some of them still black and blue with bruises.

What Amal Clooney – who has just joined the legal team representing the surviving men – must prove, is that the abuse amounted to torture, rather than the lesser category of “inhuman and degrading treatment”. The distinction is crucial.

Amal Clooney is about to take on one of her biggest legal challenges yet – accusing the British government of committing torture in Troubles-era Northern Ireland, then then lying about it to the European Court of Human Rights.
The accusations will be levelled in a high-profile case due to come before the Strasbourg Court. The outcome could rewrite the law books and help to combat the use of torture globally.

Here’s what happened. In August 1971 the UK authorities arrested and interned hundreds of men in Northern Ireland. Fourteen were selected for “special treatment” in a specially-built interrogation centre at a British Army camp.

The men claim they were subjected to “five techniques” of hooding, stress positions, white noise, sleep deprivation and deprivation of food and water – combined with brutal beatings and death threats. Some were also reportedly thrown from helicopters while their heads were covered with hoods.

Allegations soon emerged of abuse. In the same year, Amnesty International sent its first ever research mission to the UK to investigate, interviewing the men and finding some of them still black and blue with bruises.

What Amal Clooney – who has just joined the legal team representing the surviving men – must prove, is that the abuse amounted to torture, rather than the lesser category of “inhuman and degrading treatment”. The distinction is crucial.

The “hooded men” case is now being brought back to court by Ireland’s government after material was uncovered in the British national archives revealing that the UK withheld crucial evidence from the European Court during the original hearing.

The files show that the British government considered the “special treatment” as torture and yet senior Ministers sanctioned its use in Northern Ireland, both of which they had denied before the European Court.

Amal Clooney and the rest of the hooded men’s legal team now must show that the UK only succeeded in persuading the court to absolve it of torturing its own citizens by actively misleading judges.

More serious charges could scarcely be made: torture, and lying to the European Court. If Ireland, the hooded men and Amal Clooney succeed with this case, the implications are potentially huge.

Success in Strasbourg would be very embarrassing for the UK government. But thanks to Amal Clooney, it could also set a new legal precedent which would hinder the use of such torture techniques in the future, and after all these decades, such a precedent couldn’t be more welcome.