Latest: European Court rejects finding that 'Hooded Men' suffered torture at hands of UK

Update 9.19am: The European Court of Human Rights has rejected a request by Ireland to find that people detained by the UK during the Troubles in the so-called Hooded Men case suffered torture.

A statement from the court said: "The European Court of Human Rights has rejected a request by Ireland to revise a 1978 judgment and find that men detained by the United Kingdom during Northern Ireland's civil strife suffered torture, not just inhuman and degrading treatment."

It added: "The court found that the Government of Ireland had not demonstrated the existence of facts that were unknown to the court at the time or which would have had a decisive influence on the original judgment. There was therefore no justification to revise the judgment."

The revision request was dismissed by six votes to one. The judge elected by Ireland issued a dissenting opinion.

7.19am: European Court to rule on the Hooded Men case against Britain's use of torture in the North

A court is expected to rule later on a landmark human rights case in which Britain is accused of using torture in the North.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is due to deliver its findings today.

Ireland took legal action following new evidence and amid pressure from Amnesty International and other human rights organisations over the so-called Hooded Men case.

They were 14 Catholics interned - detained indefinitely without trial - in 1971 who said they were subjected to a number of torture methods.

These included five techniques - hooding, stress positions, white noise, sleep deprivation and deprivation of food and water - along with beatings and death threats.

The men were hooded and flown by helicopter to a secret location, later revealed as a British Army camp at Ballykelly, outside Derry.

They were also dangled out of the helicopter and told they were high in the air, although they were close to the ground.

None were ever convicted of wrongdoing.

The Irish government first took a human rights case against Britain over the alleged torture in 1971.

The European Commission ruled that the mistreatment of the men was torture, but in 1978 the European Court of Human Rights held that the men suffered inhumane and degrading treatment that was not torture.

The UK did not dispute the finding.

New evidence, uncovered from national archives in London, throws doubt over the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.

It includes a letter dated 1977 from Britain's then-home secretary Merlyn Rees to Britain's then-prime minister James Callaghan in which he states his view that the decision to use "methods of torture in Northern Ireland in 1971/72 was taken by ministers - in particular Lord Carrington, then secretary of state for defence".

Mr Rees added that "a political decision was taken".

- PA


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