Prosecutors to make decision over Bloody Sunday charges

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By Michael McHugh, Press Association

Prosecutors are considering charging 18 British soldiers over involvement in the Bloody Sunday shootings in Northern Ireland, a relative has said.

Thirteen people died when members of the Parachute Regiment opened fire on Civil Rights demonstrators in Londonderry in 1972.

A fourteenth person died later.

John Kelly's brother Michael was among those killed and he met prosecutors recently.

He said: "The Public Prosecution Service is investigating 18 soldiers."

All those killed were later pronounced innocent by a public inquiry led by Lord Saville, and then-prime minister David Cameron said the killings were unjustified and unjustifiable.

Mr Kelly was 23 when 17-year-old Michael died.

He still has a Mars bar his mother had bought for his brother.

"He never got a chance to eat the Mars bar," Mr Kelly said.

The soldiers have been referred to by letters of the alphabet allocated to them at the time of the Saville Inquiry.

Mr Kelly said: "I do believe I will see F again."

Prosecution of soldiers from Northern Ireland's 30-year conflict has attracted criticism in some quarters from those opposed to dragging elderly ex-servicemen through the courts.

Mr Kelly said nearly all the Bloody Sunday relatives supported prosecutions.

Earlier this year a pro-military rally was organised by Justice For Northern Ireland Veterans (JFNIV) to highlight what it alleges is a legal witch-hunt against former security members who served during the Troubles.

The campaign group, which formed in response to a number of recent prosecutions of former soldiers in relation to incidents during the region's sectarian conflict, held similar rallies in London and Glasgow.

Prosecutors in Northern Ireland have pursued five times more prosecutions against alleged paramilitaries than soldiers in the last five years, the PPS has disclosed.

One third of cases which the director of public prosecutions has referred to police to investigate relate to Troubles incidents involving security force members.

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