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SDLP leader names 'Soldier F' under parliamentary privilege in House of Commons

Soldier F has been facing charges of murder on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972.

Image: Parliament TV

THE LEADER OF the SDLP has used parliamentary privilege to name Soldier F, who is accused of murdering two men during Bloody Sunday in 1972.

Colum Eastwood made his comments as the House of Commons considered amendments to the Armed Forces Bill.

Eastwood, the MP for Foyle, said: “Almost 50 years ago, 14 unarmed civil rights marchers were murdered on the streets of Derry by the Parachute Regiment.”

Eastwood then named Soldier F and listed the allegations of murder he is charged with.

The MP continued: “For 50 years he’s been granted anonymity. Now the [British] Government wants to give him an amnesty.

“Does the shadow minister agree with me that nobody, none of the perpetrators involved in murder during our Troubles should be granted an amnesty?”

Peacock Shadow defence minister Stephanie Peacock. Source: Parliament TV

The soldier cannot be named in the media for legal reasons.

Parliamentary privilege enables MPs to say whatever they wish in the House of Commons without fear of being sued for defamation.

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Soldier F has been facing charges of murdering James Wray and William McKinney on Bloody Sunday in Derry on 30 January 1972, when troops opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in the Bogside, killing 13 people.

Last week, it was reported a formal move to halt the prosecution of the veteran was set to be delayed to facilitate a legal challenge against the decision.

Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service had been due to withdraw proceedings against Soldier F at Derry Magistrates’ Court last Friday.

But the PPS said it would ask for that hearing to be adjourned after a brother of one of the victims secured judicial permission to challenge the prosecutors’ decision at a High Court hearing in the autumn.

A barrister representing Soldier F told the High Court in Belfast on Thursday that he would not oppose Friday’s adjournment application in Derry, given the court assurances that September’s legal challenge is to expedited.

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