Northern Ireland news

Interned man suing British Government for unlawful imprisonment

Lawyers representing Eamonn Lynch (69) have lodged papers at the High Court

A DERRY man interned at the height of the Troubles is suing the British Government for unlawful imprisonment.

Lawyers representing Eamonn Lynch (69) have lodged papers at the High Court, seeking damages for the year-long period he spent locked up.

The action centres on a finding reached in a previous case involving former Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams.

In May 2020 the Supreme Court quashed Mr Adams' historic convictions for attempts to escape from lawful custody in 1973 and 1974.

He had been detained under an Interim Custody Order (ICO), part of a policy of internment without trial introduced by the government as violence raged in Northern Ireland.

But Supreme Court judges ruled that Mr Adams' ICO was invalid because it had not been personally authorised by the secretary of state at the time, William Whitelaw.

Checks have now been carried out on others held during the period between 1971-1975 when internment operated.

According to Belfast-based legal firm KRW Law, Mr Lynch was detained for 12 months from February 1974 on an ICO wrongly authorised by another official within the Northern Ireland Office.

A writ issued against the NIO on his behalf alleges false imprisonment, negligence and misfeasance in public office.

Mr Lynch is claiming aggravated damages for breaches of his human rights, papers state.

His solicitor, Gary Duffy of KRW Law, contended that the former internee is entitled to significant compensation because the papers were not signed off by the secretary of state.

"He was taken away from his family and spent a full year locked up and falsely imprisoned," Mr Duffy said.

"We have now issued High Court proceedings for damages, but no amount of money will ever adequately repay him or anyone else detained like this for the trauma suffered."

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