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24 November 2005 Edition

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Adams opposes amnesty for British Forces

Gerry Adams has opposed any amnesty for British state forces involved in collusion and other state killings.

"After the release of prisoners under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, Sinn Fein raised the issue of the small number of people, known as On-the-Runs, who are displaced from their families and who, if arrested and convicted, would have been eligible for release under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. All of those we are aware of are Irish republicans and number less than two dozen and are firm supporters of the peace process, he said.

He pointed out that Sinn Fein did not "support, propose, discuss or accept that members of the British state forces should be part of the process. For this reason we did not argue for an amnesty".

Adams went on: " On the contrary, we opposed this approach and we sought to ensure the scheme would not hinder the search for the truth or provide immunity for members of British state forces who carried out or were responsible for state killings and collusion. The scheme that we negotiated was published by the two governments at Weston Park in 2003 and related only to OTRs. It did not include members of British state forces.

"Indeed, one of the key factors in Sinn Féin rejecting the position produced by the two governments at Weston Park was the British government's refusal to agree to an independent judicial inquiry as called for by the family of Pat Finucane.

"Sinn Fein's position is absolutely clear, we are opposed to the inclusion of British state forces in the current legislation. In our view it represents the latest attempt by the British state to conceal the truth about its involvement in the killing of citizens.

"Sinn Fein will continue to confront the British government on the denial of truth about collusion.

"Our party activists, including elected representatives, were a primary target in this policy of state murder. Only last week, I was again told that my details, compiled by British intelligence agencies, had been passed to loyalist death squads. This is an urgent and immediate issue for Sinn Fein and we will continue to support the victims of collusion and state violence. The British persist in denying their policy of collusion. They must acknowledge the truth and those who directed this policy, including senior British political figures, must be held to account."

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