Belfast Telegraph

Government has broken my heart, says victim's mother

By Adrian Rutherford

The mother of a man killed in an IRA bombing has criticised the lack of Government action to secure compensation from Libya.

Hamida Bashir said it had broken her heart.

Her son Inam (29) was one of two people who died in the 1996 Docklands bombing in the middle of London's financial district.

Mrs Bashir has been campaigning for redress for other victims of Libyan-sponsored IRA terrorism.

She said she was appalled by the Government's failure to set up a reparations fund.

"Today the Government broke my heart," Mrs Bashir told the Belfast Telegraph.

"As I have said, I will not accept or require any compensation for the loss of my beloved son, but I support all those who have been left severely disabled by Gaddafi and the IRA.

"The Government should be ashamed of themselves because they have disgraced all the UK victims of terror."

Inam and John Jeffries died when the massive lorry bomb exploded on February 9, 1996. It caused £150m of damage and left more than 100 people injured.

Mrs Bashir said the lack of action by the Government contrasted with other countries, including the United States.

In 2008 it emerged Libya had paid $1.5bn (£1.1bn) to a US compensation fund for terror attacks blamed on Tripoli.

They include the 1988 Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people and the 1986 bombing of a Berlin disco that killed three.

Mrs Bashir added: "How can it be that US, France and German lives were valued but those in the UK were worth nothing?

"This report shows the Government has great words of false sympathy but in reality they don't care as we are all expendable. The Government has made me cry today as they truly don't care."

Willie Frazer, who heads a victims group that has worked with the Docklands Victims Association and the McCue and Jury legal team on the issue of Libyan compensation, said the response was "unacceptable".

He said the Government would be seen as weak and incapable.

Mr Frazer added: "We cannot fault the work of the NI Select Committee or their commitment to the victims of Libyan-sponsored terrorist violence.

"Their report sought to recommend a meaningful solution.

"The Government's go-it-alone, you're on your own response is completely unacceptable and lacking in moral courage, contrary to the dedication and determination of the victims and their families."

Lawyer Jason McCue, who represents a series of IRA victims, said the Government's actions were "shameful".

"The British Government's response to a parliamentary inquiry that clearly found it wanting and not performing its duty of care to victims of terrorism is to continue to do nothing, make poor uneducated excuses and demonstrate complete hypocrisy," he said.

Andrew Mackinlay, a former Labour MP and a long-standing victims campaigner, said: "This is a callous, calculating fob-off by the Government.

"Successive governments of Blair, Brown, Cameron and now May have betrayed the victims of these terrorist outrages."

Belfast Telegraph

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