'Hooded men' will be represented by Amal Clooney
LEADING international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has joined the legal team representing the 'hooded men' who have taken a case against Britain to the European Court of Human rights.
Mrs Clooney will link up with legal teams based in Dublin, Belfast and London and will meet the men in April or May, a spokesperson for the men told the Irish Independent last night.
The human rights lawyer, who is married to Hollywood actor George Clooney, has worked on a number of high-profile cases and was previously an advisor to UN secretary general Kofi Annan.
The Irish government has supported the men's campaign to have the case reopened. However, a spokesperson said Mrs Clooney's costs will not be covered by the State as she is representing the 'hooded men' and not the State in the Court of Human Rights case.
It is alleged 14 men were tortured when they were interned without trial in the Ballykelly British army base in Northern Ireland during the Troubles in August 1971.
A litany of abuses are alleged to have been carried out against the men including hooding and blindfolding, subjecting them to constant loud noises, as well as sleep and food deprivation.
In 1978, a European Court upheld the Irish government's claims that the tactics used against the men constituted "inhumane" and "degrading" treatment, but did not constitute "torture".
In December last year, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan confirmed the government had requested the European Court of Human Rights to reopen the case of the 'Hooded Men'.
This came about after several of the men had taken a High Court case calling on the State to support their allegations, in addition to a television documentary which highlighted the tactics used in Northern Ireland at the time.
A spokesperson for the group said Mrs Clooney was "relishing the challenge" of representing the men. She will be based in London while working on the case.