Former British paratrooper to be charged in Bloody Sunday shooting

Former British paratrooper to be charged in Bloody Sunday shooting
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A former British paratrooper is being charged for his role in the killing of more than a dozen civil rights protesters in Northern Ireland during the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre. 

Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service announced the decision on Thursday, with director Stephen Herron saying there was "sufficient available evidence" to prosecute, according to The Guardian.

“It has been concluded that there is sufficient available evidence to prosecute one former soldier, Soldier F, for the murder of James Wray and William McKinney, and for the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O’Donnell," Herron said. 

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“In respect of the other 18 suspects, including 16 former soldiers and two alleged Official IRA members, it has been concluded that the available evidence is insufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction."

The former soldier will not be named, The Guardian reported. The news outlet added that he will only be identified through letters that were used during an inquiry into the massacre that ran between 1998 and 2010. 

The inquiry concluded that British soldiers had no justification for opening fire and killing 13 people during a 1972 protest march against internment in Northern Ireland. The inquiry also found that the soldiers were not under threat and that the British soldiers shot first. 

Soldier F, as he is being identified, will be charged with two murders and four attempted murders, the news outlet noted. 

The Public Prosecution Service is reportedly considering charges of perjury for others in relation to reports about Bloody Sunday.

British defense secretary Gavin Williamson responded to the news by saying that “we are indebted to those soldiers who served with courage and distinction to bring peace to Northern Ireland."

"The welfare of our former service personnel is of the utmost importance and we will offer full legal and pastoral support to the individual affected by today’s decision," he said. "This includes funding all his legal costs and providing welfare support."