Two Paras accused of torture and mutilation

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The Independent Online

Two soldiers who had opened fire on Bloody Sunday tortured and mutilated a man in Belfast weeks later, the inquiry on the 1972 shootings heard yesterday.

Two soldiers who had opened fire on Bloody Sunday tortured and mutilated a man in Belfast weeks later, the inquiry on the 1972 shootings heard yesterday.

A Catholic man was said to have been castrated by troops and dumped in a loyalist area. The allegation was in material sent to the inquiry by the Irish government.

Christopher Clarke QC, counsel to the inquiry, said the material claimed the two soldiers had run a man into the side of an armoured vehicle.

Mr Clarke added: "He was knocked out, then revived, and thrown into the back of the pig (vehicle) where he was electrocuted in some way, castrated, sliced in the face with a knife and generally kicked and beaten. The statement then goes on to say that his body was taken to the Shankill and dumped to await his fate."

The lists of people killed at that time contain no obvious candidates for the alleged victim. But the inquiry has taken evidence from this source seriously before, providing one soldier, known as 027, with £1,400 per month to spend on protection measures.

The inquiry, chaired by Lord Saville of Newdigate, has resumed its deliberations after a long summer recess. Its resumption was delayed by the resignation for personal reasons of one of the tribunal's three judges.

His replacement, retired Australian judge Mr John Toohey, made his first public appearance yesterday. The government has also appointed a reserve member to the tribunal in case any of the other judges should drop out. He is Canadian judge William Esson.

Opening submissions are to continue for two weeks before the first witnesses start to give evidence. Some 1,500 people have been interviewed by the tribunal team in the first stages of proceedings which may go on for years.

The inquiry has already cost some £25m and taken much longer than expected to reach this stage. The opening speech by Mr Clarke took up more than 170 hours, consisting of a million and a quarter words.

Arthur Harvey QC, for the relatives, compared the military operation with the Sharpville and Tiananmen Square massacres. He also said the original inquiry into events in 1972 was tainted, designed to save face for the Government and Army of the day.

* Four men were arrested in the Derrylin area of Co Fermanagh on Saturday night after security forces believed they thwarted an attempt by the Real IRA to bomb a security installation. They had intercepted a white van con- taining a so-called "barrack-buster" device.

These mortar devices contain a large amount of explosives and can be lethal when propelled into Army or police bases. The device was similar to one dissident republicans used in an attack on the police station in Armagh in September.

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