A bid to pay compensation to victims of the Docklands bomb has been blocked by the Government.
Campaigners are seeking a tiny fraction of the £9.5billion fortune stashed in Britain by terrorist-backing former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and frozen by international authorities.
They say those caught up in the violence 21 years ago deserve help to east the ongoing suffering cause by the IRA bomb.
On Friday, February 24 a cross-party group of MPs brought forward the Asset Freezing (Compensation) Bill to release some of the money. It had already successfully passed through the House of Lords but it was blocked from a second reading in the House Of Commons after a government whip was heard to shout “object”, which stopped the measure.
Tory MP James Cartlidge then stood up to protest on a point of order: “You may be aware that throughout the IRA’s reign of terror, much of the explosive they used to kill was supplied by Libya. The Bill has the support of victims of IRA terrorism. Are you able to give any advice to those of us who want to put on record the anger of those victims that the Bill has been objected to?”
Docklands Victims Association chairman Jonathan Ganesh has been campaigning for victims for more than two decades. He said: “We are very saddened by what the government did to the Bill because people desperately need that compensation.
“To see it rejected hurt us very much.”
Gaddafi supplied the Semtex to the IRA which set the explosives in 1996 as part of their terror campaign. US victims have received compensation but British victims were excluded from the programme.
The frozen assets, made up of property, investments and cash, are on hold waiting for a stable regime to return to the North African country. The Government has said they cannot legally be touched as they are frozen under a United Nations resolution.
The bill is now due to be read a second time on March 24.
Jonathan said: “I fear the government will do the same thing again and block it. Why don’t they want to help us? Why can’t they make a principled stand for the UK victims and hold Gaddafi to account?”
A government spokesman told the Standard it is trying to obtain compensation: “We are determined to see a just solution for UK victims of Gaddafi-sponsored terrorism and the Foreign Office continues to encourage the Libyans to engage with UK victims. We will continue to support victims in their attempts to seek redress from the Libyan authorities once stability returns.”
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