THE BROTHER of a man shot dead on Bloody Sunday has hit out at a senior British Army figure who claimed the troops responsible for the massacre should not be prosecuted.
Those who back an amnesty for soldiers behind the killings are “supporting murderers and the crime itself”, said John Kelly, whose 17-year-old brother Michael was fatally injured on January 30, 1972.
His comments come in the wake of revelations that up to 20 retired British soldiers are to be arrested and questioned in relation to murder, attempted murder and criminal injury, as part of a police inquiry into Bloody Sunday.
It emerged this weekend that the Ministry of Defence has hired lawyers to represent the ex-soldiers, most of whom are in their sixties and seventies.
Richard Kemp, a former colonel in the Royal Anglian Regiment, which was in Londonderry on the day, condemned the PSNI’s decision to pursue prosecutions.
“Although I utterly condemn the unjustified killing that took place on Bloody Sunday, it is despicable that 41 years later law officers are planning to prosecute the soldiers involved for murder,” he said.
“This ridiculous, politically motivated prosecution is not in the public interest and should not be permitted.”
But Mr Kelly told The Irish Post he believed the soldiers should have been arrested immediately after the publication of the Savile Report in 2010.
Lord Savile concluded that the killing of the 14 unarmed Catholic civil rights protesters on Bloody Sunday was “unjustified and unjustifiable”.
“This is still raw within the families, it is something that is still open and has never been completed,” Mr Kelly said.
He added: “People say to us that these people are in their sixties or seventies. But it does not matter to me what age they are.
“And when I hear people calling for an amnesty and not to prosecute these soldiers, I think that is terribly wrong because murder was committed in this city and anyone who perpetrates murder anywhere in the world should always be brought to justice.”