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Declassified documents reveal secret 1970s interrogation centre in Derry

Ballykelly, Co Derry
Ballykelly, Co Derry

A  SECRET British Government interrogation centre was housed in Ballykelly, Co Derry during the early 1970s, according to declassified British government documents.

12 internees were subjected to violent ill-treatment, which led the Irish government at the time to take a case to the European Commission of Human Rights on behalf of the men.

It has been claimed that the British Government misled two official inquiries and the European Court of Human Rights about the existence of the centre and its operations.

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The Pat Finucane Centre uncovered the declassified documents showing that the location of the interrogation centre at Ballykelly was a closely kept secret.

Sarah Duddy of the Centre told RTÉ that the documents had shown how techniques such as hooding, sleep deprivation, diet restrictions, white noise and other methods, were carried out on detainees at the Ballykelly centre.

On 9 August 1971, nearly 350 people were arrested and interned in Northern Ireland.

12 of these men were subjected to deep interrogation known as the five techniques, which the European Commission of Human Rights described as torture.

In the case brought to the European Court of Human Rights by the Irish Government, there was no mention of an interrogation centre at Ballykelly.

The Pat Finucane Centre claims London misled two official inquiries and the European Court of Human Rights.

She said the Pat Finucane Centre had cross-referenced this new information with the contents of previous inquiries, such as the 1971 Compton Report and the Parker Report one year later.

The Compton Report looked into alleged use of brutality by security forces in Northern Ireland, while the Parker Report investigated interrogation methods against terror suspects.

Based on that study, she questioned whether either of these inquiries had been informed of the existence of the centre at Ballykelly.

The Irish Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin is examining the matter.

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