Soldiers 'cannot live in constant fear of prosecution'

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The charges follow a decade-long investigation that concluded soldiers killed 13 unarmed demonstrators protesting Britain's detention of suspected Irish nationalists.

British troops opened fire on protesters participating in an unauthorized march in Bogside, a nationalist area of Londonderry, on January 30, 1972.

The charges announced yesterday come more than two years after police referred their findings to prosecutors and nearly nine years after the conclusion of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, which was tasked with determining what happened, not bringing criminal charges.

Today, its director Stephen Herron confirmed that one former soldier, referred to as Soldier F, will be prosecuted for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney.

Ciaran Shiels, the solicitor for several of the victims' families, said: "We are disappointed that not all of those responsible are to face trial".

The letter said a dedicated team has been set up looking at ways to provide appropriate legal protection to serving and former members of the armed forces "where they now face repeated investigations and potential prosecution following events that happened many years ago".

But the PPS decisions in respect of potential perjury charges will be announced at a later date.

"Their victory is our victory", he said. "We have walked a long journey since our fathers and brothers were brutally slaughtered on the streets of Derry on Bloody Sunday. We are here to take their place". Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire Families of those died march through the Bogside in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, towards the Guildhall ahead of the announcement as to whether 17 former British soldiers and two former members of the Official IRA will be prosecuted in connection with the events of Bloody Sunday in the city in January 1972.

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One former British soldier to face charges over Bloody Sunday killings

"There has been a level of expectation around the prosecution decisions in light of the findings of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry".

Ex-paratroopers have claimed they opened fire after being fired upon first.

Following the publication of the Saville report in 2010, then prime minister David Cameron apologised for the Army's actions, branding them "unjustified and unjustifiable".

A public inquiry conducted by a senior judge shortly after the deaths was branded a whitewash by victims' families and a campaign was launched for a new public inquiry.

Prosecutors said much of the material considered by the Saville inquiry wasn't admissible in criminal proceedings "due to strict rules of evidence".

"It's not just about Northern Ireland, but about Iraq and Afghanistan, conflicts before that and in the future".

"We are indebted to those soldiers who served with courage and distinction to bring peace to Northern Ireland", Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said in a statement.

The British government said it would provide full legal support to the soldier who will face prosecution.

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