Amnesty International today renewed its call for an independent investigation into allegations of ill-treatment in custody and breaches of fair trial rights in connection with the men arrested for the 1976 Sallins mail train robbery.
Today’s call comes on the occasion of a petition filed with the Minister for Justice on behalf of the men by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), the Committee for the Administration of Justice, the Pat Finucane Centre and Fair Trials, seeking an independent, human rights compliant statutory inquiry into the abuses they suffered.
Fiona Crowley, Research and Legal Manager, Amnesty International Ireland said: “The Sallins case involved allegations and evidence of severe ill-treatment during police interrogations of the men suspected of the robbery, potentially amounting to torture. It also involved clear breaches of their fair trial rights. Shockingly, these were never properly and impartially investigated. Today, we back the call for an independent public inquiry into what happened to them in garda custody and courtrooms.
“In 1990, Amnesty first publicly called for an independent inquiry into what these men experienced. In 1977, Amnesty sent a research mission to Ireland, upon which it submitted to the government credible evidence of garda ill-treatment. That report also detailed serious concerns about the Irish courts’ handling of confessions allegedly obtained by ill-treatment during incommunicado detention. Yet nothing happened.
“In 2019, we and ICCL jointly wrote to the then Minister for Justice to again demand an independent inquiry. Today, we repeat that call. It is time for the government to finally live up to its human rights obligations of truth, justice and reparations. Otherwise, the ‘Sallins men’ case will remain a terrible stain on Ireland’s human rights record.”