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Tuesday, June 9, 1998 Published at 07:06 GMT 08:06 UK


Nuclear veterans' court hope

The former servicemen say they have suffered health problems from radiation

Former servicemen who were exposed to fall-out during British nuclear testing in the Pacific 40 years ago will hear on Tuesday whether they have won their case against the government.

BBC legal affairs correspondent Joshua Rozenberg: test veteran became sterile
The Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg will rule on claims brought by two veterans, who say they have suffered health problems as result of the radiation exposure.

Their claims for war pensions were rejected because there was no available evidence that their illnesses resulted from exposure to radiation.

[ image: Ken McGinley: court fight]
Ken McGinley: court fight
They were just two of 12,000 troops posted to Christmas Island between 1957 and 1958 when Britain exploded six nuclear weapons in the atmosphere.

Ken McGinley, a Royal Engineer, was on Christmas Island. Edward Egan, who was in the Navy, was stationed on a ship nearby.

Veterans say they were deliberately exposed to radiation to find out what would happen to them.

Test veteran Ken McGinley: the ground trembled like an earthquake
Mr McGinley is sterile and Mr Egan suffers from lung disease.

In 1996 the European Commission on Human Rights, which filters applications to the European Court of Human Rights, took the view that the men had been denied their rights and the opportunity to claim their pensions.

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