Relatives of people murdered by an ‘elite’ British Army unit in targeted operations have said those who carried out the killings should be held to account for their actions.
It comes amid reports that around ten former members of the Special Air Service (SAS) face investigation and possible trial. A report in the British tabloids said that the SAS men are unhappy about being investigated, claiming they are “victims of a legal witch hunt”.
The undercover unit has been linked to scores of planned assassinations and ambushes, known as shoot-to-kill.
So far, only a handful of former British soldiers have been put on trial on charges linked to the conflict. Earlier this month the trial of two British army veterans accused of shooting Official IRA man Joe McCann in 1972 collapsed.
The British government is now said to be planning to introduce an amnesty for its military personnel who operated in the north during the conflict.
Campaigner Mairéad Kelly’s brother Patrick was one of eight IRA Volunteers shot dead in Loughgall, County Armagh, in May 1987 (pictured). Civilian Anthony Hughes was also shot dead in the ambush.
Ms Kelly said relatives of people killed are entitled to the truth.
“It’s like the government and their agents do not have to be accountable for any of their actions. It’s like giving them a blank card to go and do as they please and worse to go and do what they are told whether lawful or not,” she said.
“Why should they not be held accountable all families deserve the truth and there must be full disclosure of all actions and material.”
The family of another man killed by the SAS has also voiced concern. Francis Bradley, whose name was later added to the IRA’s roll of honour, was shot dead during an ambush near Toome in February 1986.
The 20-year-old’s family believe he was also the victim of the ‘shoot to kill’ policy. His brother Brian said: “If the SAS feel they are the victims, why don’t they come and stand trial, let the families know what happened,” he said.
“And if they are innocent they can go on with their lives, why hide.”