In Belfast there are a lot of paramilitary punishment squads. From 1973 until 2004 there were more than 3000 punishment shootings and more than 2000 beatings. In Belfast there has already been 30 years of violence. There have been fights between the Catholic republicans and the Protestant paramilitaries. These paramilitaries have been making the city notorious. Not just in the UK but in the whole world. In 1994 there was an ending to sectarian killing but the punishment beatings kept going on.
An ex offender, Jimmy, told us about his acquaintance with the paramilitaries. As he became known for different thefts, he got beaten by the paramilitaries. They also used a classic form of paramilitary punishment: knee capping. Three years later, Jimmy was visited again by the paramilitaries. They hurt him a second time. He could feel and hear his bones cracking. They were like animals. The paramilitaries have been using different forms of punishment. They can use for example public humiliation and they can injure people with gunshots.
The authorities today are still treated with contempt and distrust. The police don’t handle the small things very well and the prosecution of paramilitaries is very rare. Because of that their victims live in big fear.
Today the joyriders are at the top of the punishment squad hitlist. Joyriders are people who drive around in stolen cars. They steal cars for fun. These people are manic. The number one enemy of a joyrider is a paramilitary.
One of the most shocking punishment beatings in recent time happened in South Belfast. A convicted car thief was punished by the paramilitaries. They broke his ankles. After this person had recovered he worked in a loyalist area. When the paramilitaries heard this, they caught him and took him to a quiet place. They crucified him. The ex-joyrider was taken to hospital with the nails and the wood still attached to his body. The paramilitaries did this to warn the joyriders. This news made the...