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PRIME MINISTER Boris Johnson was accused of trying to put British soldiers above the law today by pledging to give veterans immunity from prosecution.
Mr Johnson revealed his proposals to amend the 1998 Human Rights Act, which would prevent former soldiers being investigated over issues that took place before October 2000 — when the act came into force.
British-based pacifist network the Peace Pledge Union (PPU) condemned the move, saying in a statement that it “threatens a basic principle of democracy: that everyone should be subject to the same law.”
The network accused Mr Johnson of having “bought into the myth” that former soldiers have been subjected to witch-hunts under the act.
PPU campaigns manager Symon Hill said: “The militarist lobby have spent years promoting their fantasy of a ‘witch-hunt’ against armed forces personnel. There is no evidence of a witch-hunt.”
Very few army personnel have been prosecuted for war-related crimes, the PPU pointed out.
Under the proposals, British soldiers who served during the Troubles in Northern Ireland would be granted immunity from prosecution despite ongoing human rights abuse allegations.
This would dash any prospect of justice for the families of victims of Bloody Sunday, when soldiers opened fire on civilians during a protest march in 1972.
Amnesty International Northern Ireland campaign manager Grainne Teggart said: “All victims have the right to an independent investigation — that is a cornerstone of the rule of law throughout the world.”
“In a democracy, everyone must be subject to the same law,” Mr Hill said.
“We all have the right to a fair trial and we can all expect to be investigated if accused of a crime. Whether someone is prosecuted should be about the evidence, not about who they work for.”
Meanwhile, the BBC was accused today of a cover-up after switching footage of a scruffily-dressed Boris Johnson laying a wreath upside down during Sunday’s remembrance ceremony with a video of the PM from 2016.
Grassroots rebuttal Twitter account Tory Fibs claimed the footage was switched to save Mr Johnson from ridicule.
The BBC denied accusations of a cover-up, saying: “This was a production mistake and we apologise for the error.”
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