Doubts Over 'Libyan IRA Atrocities Deal'

A Northern Ireland pressure group acting for victims of the Troubles has welcomed news that strife-torn Libya has agreed a deal for victims to be compensated for multiple atrocities carried out by the IRA throughout the UK.

But, the details are less than clear despite Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR) having hailed it a 'breakthrough' by the campaigning legal team, H2O, after its visit to Libya and a meeting with the 'rebel' Transitional National Government, led by Mustafa Mohammed Abdul Jalil.

It has now emerged that the revolutionary administration has since denied the claim by the British lawyers representing victims of IRA attacks and the Lockerbie bombing that it has apologised for Libya's involvement and offered compensation.

That's in spite of an earlier statement when Jason McCue, who heads the Libya Victims Initiative, in which he said this was an "unequivocal apology" for Libya's provision of Semtex used in IRA bombings and the blowing up of the Pan Am flight.

Mr McCue said the revolutionary council had agreed to pay compensation along the lines paid out in a deal between Muammar Gaddafi and the US government, which provided $10m for a death and $3m for a serious injury. He said there was also agreement to set up a trust for other victims.

He said the apology and offer of compensation was in the name of the Chairman of its interim governing council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil.

But Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, its Deputy Chairman, has since clouded the waters and said McCue's claims were "not true".

"We didn't apologise ourselves. We regret what happened, the catastrophic event of Lockerbie, and we will do our best to reach the truth with the families of Lockerbie.

"Also for the IRA. We emphasised to the British Government that we will work to overcome what has happened. But there was no apology. We are not responsible," he said.

Mr Ghoga said that the Council "didn't negotiate anything about compensation".

"We want to know the truth. We will help the families of the victims to get to the truth," he said.

However, separately, the council said that it would "co-operate fully" to establish what had happened in the Lockerbie attack "and the right of the victims' families for justice".

But, after being briefed by the legal team, William Frazer of FAIR and Jonathan Ganesh of the Docklands IRA Victims Association insisted that Mustafa Mohammed Abdul Jalil was serious about the offer.

"We would ask that our politicians support this transitional government to ensure the overthrow of the Gadaffi regime and ensure that the rights of the innocent victims of terrorism are upheld," said the long-time anti-IRA campaigner, Willie Frazer.

"We need to send a message to our own politicians that wrongs can be righted and perpetrators of terrorism and those who support them will at some stage be held accountable for their actions".


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