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A SINN FEIN member of Northern Ireland’s Legislative Assembly has warned that the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill, which had its first reading in the Westminster Parliament today, would allow “MI5 and police agents to break the law without fear of prosecution.”
The party’s policing spokesman Gerry Kelly, who helped negotiate the Good Friday Agreement, said the Bill, which protects state agents from prosecution if they break the law in pursuance of their missions, places “agents above the rule of law and [gives them] a green light to carry out serious crimes which could include murder.”
The British government says the legislation is designed to protect officers infiltrating proscribed groups like Islamic State or paedophile rings.
But it admits it will not contain an “exhaustive list” of what agents can and can’t do, leading to fears that senior officers could approve serious crimes.
“In Ireland we know that this amnesty for agents is nothing new,” Mr Kelly said.
“Throughout the conflict, British state agents were allowed to carry out countless killings — many under direction of intelligence agencies, RUC and the British government itself. No-one should be above the rule of law.”
In 2018 Hampshire police chiefs admitted that undercover officer Christine Green, infiltrating the Animal Liberation Front, helped release thousands of mink that went on to cause ecological devastation in the New Forest in 1998.
The role of police spooks in deceiving female activists into long-term sexual relationships, including ones which resulted in children, has also come to light in recent years.
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