Northern Ireland’s prosecutor’s office decided not to prosecute 15 soldiers who were involved in the death of 13 unarmed Catholics in 1972 during the Bloody Sunday massacre.
Repression of protesters in Northern Ireland marked a date known as Bloody Sunday – Photo: THOMPSON / AFP
In Northern Ireland, Catholics are largely in favor of independence from the United Kingdom.
On January 30, 1972, there was a peaceful march in Londonderry. This is a region considered to be nationalist. The act had not been authorized by the police.
Map shows Londonderry’s location – Photo: G1
A troop of UK soldiers opened fire and immediately killed 13 unarmed people. Another victim later died from his injuries.
A judicial inquiry into the events concluded in 2010 that the victims were innocent and posed no threat to the military.
This is the most violent incident in the conflict between Northern Ireland separatists and the UK.
The violence in Northern Ireland has worsened since then – the years have been called “The Troubles”. In 1998 the Good Friday Agreement was signed which ended the conflict. In total, 3,500 people died as a result of the conflicts during those decades.
Last year, prosecutors decided that there was evidence to indict a former British soldier, known as Private F., for two murders. Another 16, however, would not be prosecuted (one died and the case automatically ended).
Relatives of the victims and survivors filed an appeal in court to review the decision.
“I concluded that the available evidence is insufficient for a reasonable prospect of conviction for any of the 15 soldiers,” said Marianne O’Kane, senior assistant to the prosecutor.
The lawsuit against Private F. continues, but has not yet reached the court.