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World Briefing / Northern Ireland

Ruling frees six held in killings

March 26, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Northern Ireland's senior judge ordered the immediate release of six suspected IRA dissidents being interrogated about recent killings of soldiers and a policeman, ruling that their 11-day detention was illegal.

Detectives released the suspects but rearrested the most prominent figure in the group, former Irish Republican Army prisoner Colin Duffy, without explanation. The other five covered their faces as supporters drove them away from a police interrogation center.

Lord Chief Justice Brian Kerr ruled that all six were being held illegally. Although Britain's Terrorism Act permits suspects to be questioned for up to 28 days, subject to judicial permission each week, Kerr said a lower-ranking judge who extended their detention last weekend to 14 days had mishandled the case.

For two weeks, detectives have been arresting and interrogating suspected IRA dissidents about the killings of two soldiers and a police officer -- the first of British security forces since 1998, the year of Northern Ireland's Good Friday peace accord.

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