London and Belfast rallies of retired soldiers have been held to support “Soldier F,” the veteran who will stand trial.
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For many Britons, the soldiers who intervened in Northern Ireland 50 years ago last week are unsung heroes who tried to keep the peace in a region riven with sectarian tensions.The British army's 38-year deployment in the province has left a bitter legacy in the form of a fierce political debate over whether soldiers should be prosecuted for alleged crimes.After a long campaign for justice by the families, Northern Irish prosecutors earlier this year announced that one soldier would stand trial for murder in September.Some 10 percent of the 3,500 victims of "The Troubles" were killed by members of the military and police.RALLIES FOR VETERANS The matter has been complicated by British MPs calling for amnesty for soldiers, matching prison release deals given to some 500 republican and loyalist paramilitaries when the conflict ended.Some fear offering an amnesty to soldiers who served in Northern Ireland would be a tacit admission of guilt among those who served with integrity.
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