Amnesty International have now published their heavily leaked report accusing the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) of maltreating suspected terrorists between 1975 and 1977.
GV & CUs: Dick Oosting, Deputy Secretary-General of Amnesty International being interviewed in English. (5 SHOTS)
REPORTER: "What prompted your investigators to of to Northern Ireland in November and December of last year?"
OOSTING: "In past few years we have continued to receive allegations of police maltreatment of suspects and early last year it was decided by our International Executive Committee that we should send a mission to Northern Ireland to investigate these allegations on the spot. It took a while to prepare that mission, and it eventually went in November and December last year."
REPORTER: "Could you tell me why Amnesty International felt it necessary to call for public enquiry?"
OOSTING: "Because we felt that so far, even after our report which has tried to establish the facts subjectively, the main finding of our report, mainly that maltreatment did take place, has not been enough accepted. The government itself doesn't contest it but tries in a round-about way to invalidate our main finding. We feel that before any good, and valid measures for long-term improvement can be taken, the facts must be established beyond doubt."
REPORTER: "Mr. Roy Mason, the British Government minister responsible for Northern Ireland, is setting up an independent committee to look into police practice and procedure in the province. This I gather doesn't satisfy you?"
OOSTING: "It doesn't satisfy us because the commission proposed by the government would exclude the possibility of looking in to individual cases. It would only look at general findings of the Director of Public Prosecutions. That is not good enough, we feel."
REPORTER: "You would also refute the Royal Ulster Constabulary claim that the allegations are part of an elaborate propaganda campaign against them?"
OOSTING: "Some of the injuries we found, too, have been self-inflicted. Our mission found after medical examination, and talking to people, that in some cases stories didn't hold up. But in the majority of cases it was found that the evidence, medical and otherwise, strongly suggested that the allegations were correct."
REPORTER: "It often seems that British forces, and indeed the police, can have bombs hurled at them, and bullets fired at them, yet if they raise a finger against so called terrorists they are in trouble. What are your feelings about this?"
OOSTING: "Well the point is that if the government resorts to similar methods of violence, because it is violence after all, although it may be to a lesser extent, and certainly one cannot equate this with the savageries of the para-military groups. Still a government resorting to method of violence, to conduct violence is not going to solve the problem."
Mr. James Molyneaux, MP for Antrim, South, and leader of the Ulster Unionist MPs at Westminster was quoted in London's Times newspaper as saying "It is too much of a coincidence that these operations are always mounted when the terrorists are coming under pressure, and when they are starting to crack".
REPORTER: GEOFF PETTS
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Background: Amnesty International have now published their heavily leaked report accusing the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) of maltreating suspected terrorists between 1975 and 1977. Amnesty has called for a public enquiry, but Mr. Roy Mason, the British government minister responsible for the province, has decided to set up a private, independent commission. This will look into police practice and procedure in Northern ireland, but Amnesty is not satisfied. The Amnesty report is based on a visit to Northern Ireland between the 28th November and the 16th December last year. The mission examined allegations of ill treatment by plain clothes police, of 78 people detained for up to seven days under emergency legislation. Most had been held at the Castlereagh police holding centre near Belfast. The report finally published on Tuesday (31 June) has come in for a lot of criticism, particularly from Ulster Unionist MPs and the RUC themselves. Mr. Dick Oosting, Amnesty's Dutch-born Deputy Secretary General, was asked about it.