Newton Emerson: Painful debate lies ahead as North grapples with Troubles amnesty

Immunity for testimony is one of at least half a dozen types of Troubles amnesty

British troops block the  anti-internment rally in Derry on Bloody Sunday, January 30th, 1972. Photograph: Ciaran Donnelly

British troops block the anti-internment rally in Derry on Bloody Sunday, January 30th, 1972. Photograph: Ciaran Donnelly

Naming Bloody Sunday “Soldier F” in the Commons this Tuesday under parliamentary privilege, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said: “For 50 years he has been granted anonymity and now the government want to grant an amnesty.”

This left out a crucial detail. Soldier F had already been granted an amnesty at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry in 2003. Testimony to inquiries is inadmissible in subsequent criminal proceedings, conferring effective immunity on those who tell the truth.

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