Decision to prosecute soldier reopens old wounds — Bloody Sunday

Relatives and supporters of the victims of the 1972 Bloody Sunday killings marched from the Bogside area of Derry Northern Ireland as they held images of those who died

Relatives and supporters of the victims of the 1972 Bloody Sunday killings marched from the Bogside area of Derry Northern Ireland as they held images of those who died

Family members of those killed on Bloody Sunday said it was "vindication of our decades-long campaign to clear the names of our loved ones".

Politicians Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill (left), Elisha McCallion, MP for Foyle, (centre) and SDLP's Colum Eastwood (right) join families before a march through the Bogside in Londonderry, in Northern Ireland, ahead of an announcement over the prosecution of 17 former British soldiers and two former members of the Official IRA in connection with the events of Bloody Sunday in the city in January 1972.

The charges under consideration included murder, attempted murder and causing grievous bodily injury with intent to endanger life.

The PPS found there was sufficient evidence to charge the ex-serviceman "Soldier F", but insufficient evidence to bring charges against 16 other former members of the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment and two IRA suspects present on the day of the killings. "We recognize the deep disappointment felt by many of those we met with today".

On Jan. 30, 1972, British troops opened fire during an unauthorized march in the Bogside, a nationalist area of Londonderry.

Sixteen other soldiers under investigation will not face prosecution in the shootings, which took place at the height of the unrest in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles.

"But I'm very saddened for the other Bloody Sunday families who have not got justice here today and whose hearts must be broken and sore now".

Although rioting had become routine for Derry's youth, McCann describes the impact of Bloody Sunday as a game-changer in Northern Ireland.

Mr Wray's brother, Liam Wray, told the BBC he was "relieved" over news of the prosecution, and said his family had been "fighting for 47 years".

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said soldier F would have the full support of the Ministry of Defence, including paying his legal costs, while Government was working on reforms he said would "ensure" forces personnel were not "unfairly treated".

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron issued an apology and said the soldiers' conduct was "unjustified and unjustifiable".

The letter said a dedicated team has been set up looking at ways to provide appropriate legal protection to serving and former members of the armed forces "where they now face repeated investigations and potential prosecution following events that happened many years ago".

He said: "We have walked a long journey since our fathers and brothers were brutally slaughtered on the streets of Derry on Bloody Sunday, over that passage of time all the parents of the deceased have died".

More than 660 witness statements were taken and investigators gathered photos as well as video and audio evidence.

"There has been a level of expectation around the prosecution decisions in light of the findings of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry", he said.

The Saville Report, which was published in 2010 after a 12-year inquiry by High Court Judge Lord Saville, reversed the findings of a hastily-convened inquiry from 1972 by another judge, Lord Widgery, who concluded the soldiers only fired after being fired upon.

"This does not mean that because they haven't been prosecuted that they are not guilty".

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