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Report Links Army, Police to 80s Plot to Kill N. Ireland Roman Catholics - 2003-04-17

A British report says army intelligence and police officers colluded with a Protestant paramilitary group in Northern Ireland to kill Roman Catholics in the province in the 1980s.

The report was put together by Metropolitan Police Commissioner John Stevens. The police chief for the past 13 years has been investigating links between security forces and paramilitary death squads in Northern Ireland.

The Stevens report focuses on the 1989 murder of a Roman Catholic lawyer, Pat Finucane, who defended Irish Republican Army militants charged with terrorist activities.

Mr. Finucane was shot to death at his Belfast home by a gunman from the Ulster Defense Association, a Protestant paramilitary group opposed to the IRA. The Stevens report says the killer also worked as a police informant and got the murder weapon from a police special branch agent.

The Finucane family has refused to cooperate with the Stevens investigation and is demanding a full public inquiry to determine if British politicians were behind the death squad activities.

The lawyer's widow, Pat Finucane, accuses the British government of killing her husband.

"The policy being operated by the British government was working most efficiently," she said. "And loyalists were able to kill people whenever and wherever the British government wanted them killed."

British reporters briefed on the contents of the Stevens report say it contains no evidence of links between British ministers and the killings.

Only a summary of the 3,000 page Stevens report was being released Thursday, in order to protect information for use in future criminal cases.