Secret files that could contain crucial information about the death of Derry man Sammy Devenny in 1969 have been reclassified and will remain under wraps until at least 2022, the Journal can reveal.
Mr Devenny, a 43-year-old father of nine from the Bogside, died three months after he and his family were assaulted by RUC officers at his home in William Street on April 19, 1969.
Mr Devenny is regarded by many as the first victim of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
The Metropolitan Police in London - one of whose officers carried out an external inquiry into the incident in 1970 - says disclosure of the files now “would not be in the public interest.”
However, Mr. Devenny’s daughter, Christine, has voiced concern that the documents may not now be released until more than half a century after his death.
“There is information in those files that we have a right to see,” she said.
Her brother, Jim, added: “We shouldn’t be depending on the whim of the Met, PSNI, Ministry of Defence or other official bodies to release documents.”
Sara Duddy, of local human rights group, the Pat Finucane Centre, says it is of “grave concern” that information relevant to Mr. Devenny’s death can “continue to be withheld.”
“We can only assume that these files contain information damaging to the RUC,” she said.