[Sinn Fein]

21st May 2003

`PSNI and British interference in Inquests and Inquiry procedures must cease'

Following revelations yesterday at the Inquest into the killing of three men by the SAS at Coagh in 1991, Sinn Fein Mid-Ulster MP, Martin Mc Guinness has called on the British government, its Intelligence Services and the PSNI to stop interfering in the Inquest process.

Mr Mc Guinness said:

``Throughout the conflict British government agencies and the RUC frustrated the rights of families to have proper Inquests carried out into the deaths of loved ones killed by British State forces including the RUC. It was never acceptable but in the present circumstances where we are involved in a conflict resolution process it is imperative that the British government cease the practice of refusing to co-operate with Inquest procedures and public Inquiries. Yesterday at the Inquests into the killing of three men by the SAS in Coagh in 1991 it was revealed that interview notes and other vital evidence may have been destroyed by the RUC on the spurious grounds that it may have been contaminated by asbestos.

This is not the first occasion that inquiries and inquests have been obstructed by British government agencies destroying vital evidence that it was known was essential to an investigation. It has been a pattern throughout the Bloody Sunday Inquiry where weapons were destroyed, the British MOD issued Public Interest Immunity Certificates to prevent full disclosure and anonymous and unverifiable evidence from military witnesses is accepted as fact. The British MOD also instructed former and serving members not to co-operate with the Barron Tribunal investigating the Dublin/Monaghan bombing. Families are entitled to unhindered and open investigations into the deaths of their loved ones at the hands of British State forces and interference and obstruction by these forces with the obvious approval of the British government must cease.'' ENDS Sinn Fein Press Office 44 Parnell Square Dublin 1 IRELAND Tel: (353 1) 8722 609 Email: mnolan@oireachtas.ie

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