Amal Clooney, renowned human rights lawyer and the wife of actor George Clooney, is to accuse former prime minister Ted Heath, now deceased, of colluding in the torture of “the hooded men” during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, reports the Daily Mail.
In a case brought against the government, the nine men claim they were tortured by the British Army when they were held without trial after internment was introduced in Northern Ireland in August 1971. None of the nine was ever convicted of any crime.
Clooney, who joined the legal team that is seeking to take the UK to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, is expected to visit Belfast next month to meet with the group of men. The thirty-seven-year-old Lebanese-born, Oxford graduate is one of the most prominent human rights lawyers in the UK.
According to documents recently uncovered, Sir Edward Heath, the prime minister at the time, was fully aware of what was happening to the detainees.
The ‘hooded men’ claim they were subjected to five torture techniques of hooding, stress positions, white noise, sleep deprivation, and withdrawal of food and water. They allege they were beaten and threatened with death.
The group also claim they were thrown from helicopters that they had been told were in mid-flight but were actually just a few feet above the ground.
Historian Jim McIlmurray, who is coordinating the legal action backed by the Irish government, said the documents show that torture was discussed "at the highest level [of government]" with the then prime minister's knowledge.
He said: "Because of this documentation the case is very much black and white. The UK Government had lied about its knowledge and six months prior to internment had ordered a special unit to carry out torture."
McIlmurray said Clooney was a "great addition" to the team but hoped her presence would not "turn the case into a circus."
George Clooney, who has Irish roots, is thought likely to accompany his wife to Belfast.
Amal Clooney was brought onto the case by Belfast-based Kevin R. Winter and Co., a firm well-known for representing Irish Republican militants as well as victims of terrorism.