Posted: 21 June 2012
In response to news that Northern Ireland man Liam Holden, the last person to be sentenced to death in the United Kingdom, has had his conviction quashed after a court heard that the confession was extracted under torture, Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International, said:
"After almost four decades, Liam Holden has finally had a measure of justice. But justice delayed so long is justice denied, and meanwhile Mr Holden has lost seventeen years of his life to the inside of a prison cell.
"A conviction, based on confession evidence apparently extracted under torture, should never have been allowed to stand. Torture is a crime under domestic and international law and we must now see action from the UK authorities to investigate and hold to account those alleged to have carried out and authorised the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture in Northern Ireland.
"The accepted but unlawful practice at that time for the army, rather than the police, to detain and question suspects, also casts doubt on other similar convictions of that period.
"The fact that Mr Holden almost faced the gallows in Northern Ireland as a result of alleged torture and tainted justice is eloquent testament to why the death penalty must never return to this country."