HM FORCES VETERANS PROTEST IN SUPPORT OF SOLDIERS A-Z.
BRITISH VETERANS FEEL BETRAYED AND HAVE LITTLE CONFIDENCE THAT THE GOVERNMENT WILL END THE PROSECUTION OF OLD AGE VETERANS.
INTRODUCTION: HM Forces Veterans have been protesting in their thousands throughout 2019/2020. The reason is that approximately 200 veterans of the Northern Ireland “Troubles” are facing prosecution for murder in relation to their duties there 22 to 51 years ago.
The Veterans involved are now in their 60s-70s many with poor health.
The use of cyphers, to identify the Veterans without revealing their names, has led to them being referred to as “Soldier A-Z”.
Following the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 there was an uncertain peace. To secure the peace the UK Government agreed to let terrorist prisoners free, and secretly promised that Soldiers A-Z would be prosecuted.
BODY: Veterans’ Minister Johnny Mercer has announced that legislation to protect Armed Forces Veterans from “Vexatious Investigations and Prosecutions” is going to be introduced on March 18th. Now almost 1 full year has passed and Johnny Mercer is not only silent but VASU has been informed that Mr Mercer has not even put pen to paper to start this process.
The word “Vexatious”, and phrases such as “only if there is new evidence” does not give comfort to Soldiers A-Z and their supporters.
Former Soldiers & loyal Supporters, who are supporting the veterans’ campaign through the website Www.veteransandsupportersunited.com & social media pages Veterans & Supporters United state “ We feel that Johnny Mercer’s job is to manage “the veteran problem”, not to rescue veterans from toxic prosecution. All the recent grandstanding of solutions for other veteran issues is the perfect backdrop for being able to isolate the Soldiers A-Z as a “few bad apples”.
“To anyone that remembers the Northern Ireland Troubles it is unbelievable that, brave British Soldiers who are now in their 60’s and 70’s are facing prosecution and prison sentences for incidents 20 to 50 years ago.
Last year a Northern Ireland Veteran, who was being investigated over such an incident, committed suicide. On hearing that news my heart went cold. I know that many of tens of thousands of other Veterans shared that emotion”.
“Since January 2019 there has been widespread picketing by veterans throughout the UK. There has been genuine warmth and support from the Police, Court Staff, Journalists and members of the public”.
“The people on the streets do not want their veterans to be prosecuted for standing up to an indiscriminate and bloody terrorist campaign. Especially when the Government set the mass murdering terrorists free over 20 years ago”.
“The supporters of the Soldiers A-Z Campaign have so far demonstrated their restraint and appreciation that a Government solution may take time. But, as of now there is no more time, old and infirm veterans are being put before the Courts in Northern Ireland.
This is not justice it’s appeasement of the former terrorists, murderers, who together with their kith and kin, have developed political power in Northern Ireland. Successive Governments of all parties have played a role in this unbelievable betrayal of our brave veterans”.