‘Secret’ government documents reveal: No early release for convicted Paras

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The possibility of Bloody Sunday soldiers benefitting from an amnesty had already been ruled out by the time the Saville Report was published, previously secret documents released by the British government reveal.

The documents include confirmation of the government’s view that soldiers facing prosecution would not benefit from the Good Friday Agreement’s early release scheme.

Updated on the publication day of Saville, the documents predict questions from the media and provide government responses - particularly on whether soldiers would benefit from the early release scheme established under the Good Friday Agreement.

One ‘line’ focused on whether any prosecuted soldiers would benefit from the early release scheme set up under the 1998 peace deal.

The prepared response reads: “The early release scheme does not apply to offences as far back as 1972.”

The ‘Journal’ recently revealed that an initial ‘scoping exercise’ into Bloody Sunday prosecutions had been completed by both the PSNI and the Public Prosecution Service (PPS). According to a spokesperson for the PSNI, detectives were now “starting” to examine the possibility of prosecuting those responsible for the 1972 murders.

A police spokesman said: “Police continue to consult with the PPS and detectives are starting to look at potential investigative opportunities flowing from the scoping exercise.”