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17 April 1997 Edition

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Arrested men beaten senseless

A number of men arrested last Thursday in South Armagh have been severely injured in beatings by members of the crown forces.

Heavily armed British soldiers dressed in civilian clothes and travelling in cars descended on an area near Cregganduff outside Crossmaglen and arrested five men.

The men offered no resistance to arrest but were set upon by the British troops in one of the worst ever cases of brutality at the scene of arrests. One man was beaten, then was forced to kneel and further beaten until he was semi-conscious. He was beaten again after the four others were taken to Gough Barracks in Armagh. When he arrived in Armagh he was bleeding heavily and was disorientated. He was later admitted to Craigavon Hospital where his extensive injuries were treated. He received stitches to a wound behind his ear and staples to a head wound. He had lacerations to his nose, ear and mouth and severe bruising to his face. He also had a hand injury and puncture wounds to his arm.

The other men arrested received similar treatment and one has been hospitalised twice since his arrest.

A resident who saw the site of the beatings reported that ``it was like a butcher's yard, there was so much blood''.

Two others were arrested a number of miles from Cregganduff. All seven were taken to Gough Barracks.

The men's solicitors have lodged formal complaints about their treatment. The United Nations in Geneva are also ``on notice'' about the case and details have been sent to the Committee on the Administration of Justice and the British Irish Human Rights Watch.

Pat McNamee, Sinn Féin candidate for Newry/Armagh, said it was ``an orchestrated attack by forces which have long terrorised this area''.

Raids and harassment is ongoing in the Cregganduff area.
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