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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 September 2006, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
UK spy wins 5,000 over book case
Cold War spy George Blake
George Blake escaped from prison in London and fled to Russia
The UK government has been told to pay a former spy 5,000 for breaching his human rights after a case that stopped him receiving book royalties.

George Blake was a British secret agent from 1944 until 1961, when he was jailed for 42 years after being caught spying for the former Soviet Union.

Blake, now 83, escaped from Wormwood Scrubs in 1966 and fled to Russia.

When he wrote autobiography No Other Choice the government took legal action to stop him receiving any payment.

European judges ruled his human rights had been "violated" because of the amount of delays to the nine-year case.

Taking into account the circumstances of the case, the Court did not consider that the proceedings against the applicant were pursued with the diligence required
A statement from the Strasbourg-base court

The European Court of Human Rights unanimously ruled that the case took "too long" to process.

The Strasbourg-based court said in a statement: "The court noted that the proceedings had lasted nine years and two months.

"Taking into account the circumstances of the case, the court did not consider that the proceedings against the applicant were pursued with the diligence required."

Payment barred

Blake is said to have caused the deaths of several British agents when he became a Soviet spy.

On Wednesday, the judgment listed a series of delays in various stages of the government's legal battle against Blake, which, by June 1998, had run for more than seven years.

There was another 21-month delay before a final House of Lords hearing in March 2000, which resulted in Blake being barred from being paid 90,000 for his book.

The government was ordered to pay Blake, within three months, 3,500 in damages for the "distress and frustration from the protracted length of the proceedings" and 2,100 costs and expenses.

Cold comfort for UK spy
27 Jul 00 |  UK

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