A witness in the shooting deaths of three unarmed IRA members in March swore before a coroner's inquest on Friday that British soldiers shot two of them as they raised their hands to surrender.
Carmen Proetta, 42, was testifying on the 14th day of the inquest into the deaths of Irish Republican Army members Mairead Farrell, 31; Daniel McCann, 30; and Sean Savage, 24, by commandos of the elite, anti-terrorist Special Air Service (SAS) regiment on March 6.She said soldiers pumped several bullets into McCann and Farrell after they had fallen to the ground.
Proetta provoked outrage in Britain when she first gave her version of how the shootings occurred near this British colony's border with Spain in an interview on the TV program "Death on the Rock" on Independent Television.
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher denounced the program as "trial by television," and the British popular press branded Proetta anti-British and unreliable.
Another witness, Kenneth Paul Asquez, 20, a Gibraltar bank clerk, admitted at the inquest under cross-examination Friday that he lied when he told that same program he saw a British soldier with his foot on the throat fire into the prostrate body of one victim.
Asquez said a written statement he gave in late March to the program's producers was false and that he made it up based on news reports.
He said he believed he might be rewarded financially, but he agreed with the lawyer for the SAS men that "In fact, you have seen virtually nothing (in the way of money)."
SAS members have testified they shot the three because they feared they were preparing to set off a car bomb here by remote control and made dangerous gestures when confronted.
The IRA has said the three were members on active service at the time of their deaths.
Critics of the Thatcher government say the shootings are a sign that the prime minister backs an unofficial "shoot-to-kill" policy against the IRA.