Belfast Telegraph

More than 12,000 people sign petition demanding justice for victims of Libya-linked terror

By Allan Preston

A petition demanding justice for victims of Libyan-sponsored terrorism has gathered more than 12,000 signatures.

The campaign is being fronted by John Murray, who was a friend and colleague of murdered police officer Yvonne Fletcher.

Mr Murray was standing feet away from PC Fletcher when she was gunned down outside the Libyan embassy in London on April 17, 1984.

For 32 years, he has fought to bring her killers before the courts and demanded Libya compensate victims killed in Gaddafi-funded IRA plots, such as the 1996 Docklands bombing, which claimed two lives.

Now he is calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to unblock £9.5 billion in frozen Libyan assets held in the UK to help victims.

Mr Murray said that the US, Germany and other countries had already secured compensation from the Libyan government for victims with life-changing injuries and families who lost loved ones.

"The UK government to date has not pursued any compensation on behalf of UK victims," he said.

"This is wrong, an affront to justice and immoral."

The issue is currently being debated in Parliament in an Asset Freezing Compensation Bill.

But Mr Murray fears the government won't support it.

"It has had its second reading and now is the time to show the government how much the public are backing this - if we don't, they may block it," he added.

He urged people: "In the name of humanity, support this petition by signing and help all those, including the Libyan people, get what they deserve.

"All the UK victims want is to be treated like all the others, I see nothing wrong in that."

PC Fletcher was one of 50 officers policing a protest against Col Muammar Gaddafi's regime outside the embassy, when she was hit by a burst of gunfire from a first-floor window.

Her killer has never been caught.

Mr Murray recalled: "In the ambulance en-route to hospital, I promised Yvonne I would find her murderer - those were the last words she heard before dying."

Scores of IRA bombs in the 1980s and 1990s used Semtex supplied by Gaddafi.

US victims of the Lockerbie bomb were paid compensation by Libya, but a number of UK citizens suing the country have so far received nothing.

Earlier this year, it emerged that Libyan assets in the UK were worth £9.5bn.

In June, Conservative peer Viscount Younger of Leckie said accessing the frozen Libyan assets for victims would be a breach of human rights laws, which protect the right to property and a fair trial.

Of the 12,330 who have signed Mr Murray's petition, many voiced their anger on the lack of progress for victims like Yvonne Fletcher.

Christopher Magrath in Chichester said: "Yvonne was a friend of mine and the UK government have been hiding the truth for years."

Brian Cherek from Munlochy said: "As a retired officer, I feel totally disgusted with what has happened in this tragic matter."

David Jagger from Aldington commented: "I ran the cordons around St James's Square. Unlike so many other 'unresolved' crimes, this one is outstanding. Shame on the government for paying so little attention to the death of this public servant."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph