Monday, March 27, 2023

Justice for Liam Holden

In 1972, British soldiers tortured a false confession out of Liam Holden, resulting in him being given Britain's last death sentence. While it was commuted to life imprisonment, Holden was wrongly imprisoned for 17 years. Now, the courts have finally recognised that it was torture:

In 1973 Liam Holden was convicted of murdering a British soldier in Northern Ireland and became the last person in the United Kingdom to be sentenced to hang.

On Friday – half a century after the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, 11 years after the sentence was quashed and a year after Holden died – a high court in Belfast awarded £350,000 to his estate.

The court accepted that the army waterboarded and tortured Holden into confessing to shooting Frank Bell, an 18-year-old member of the parachute regiment. The posthumous award included damages for inhumane and degrading treatment, misfeasance in public office and malicious prosecution.

Which is good, if late. But its not enough. Torture is and always has been a crime in the UK. There won't be real justice until Holden's torturers and their co-conspirators are exposed and prosecuted.