Federal subpoena seeks Boston College's IRA interviews

From today's New York Times:

Boston College Fights Subpoena of Interviews Tied to IRA

Boston College filed a motion this week to quash a federal subpoena seeking access to confidential interviews of paramilitary fighters for the Provisional Irish Republican Army.

The motion, filed in United States District Court in Boston, seeks to prevent the British authorities from accessing the interviews as part of an investigation into burglaries, kidnappings and murders during the decades known as the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Academics, historians and journalists conducted the interviews from 2001 to 2006. Known as the Belfast Project, its goal was to interview members of the IRA, the Provisional Sinn Fein and other organizations about their activities during the Troubles.

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The people who were interviewed were promised that their identities would be kept confidential and that the interviews would be released only after their deaths. The transcripts are kept at Boston College.

Lawyers for Boston College argue that releasing the interviews would break the IRA's “code of silence” and could lead to “punishment by death,” according to the filing.


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