Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 11:09 UK

Call for Libya to pay IRA victims

Muammar Gaddafi
Col Gaddafi has paid damages to families of the Lockerbie victims

Relatives of IRA terrorist victims have renewed their calls for compensation from Libya following the release of the Lockerbie bomber.

During the Troubles, Libya supplied guns and explosives to the IRA, and the families want the country to face up to its responsibilities.

They are calling on the Libyan leader to demonstrate the same compassion shown to Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi.

The terminally-ill bomber was released from a Scottish prison last week.

'Diplomacy hindered'

Families of victims killed by Libyan weapons believe their hand has been strengthened by Megrahi's release, which has caused a political and diplomatic row on both sides of the Atlantic.

He was freed by the Scottish government on compassionate grounds and returned home to Libya, where he was given a hero's welcome.

Lawyer Jason McCue, who represents the victims' families, said the scenes had taken Libya "back in diplomatic years" and argued the country needed to demonstrate it could maintain good relations with international trading partners.

"There is no simpler and easier way to do that than to compensate those victims of IRA bombs that utilised donated Libyan Semtex [plastic explosive]," he said.

Colin Parry, whose 12-year-old son, Tim, was killed in the IRA attack in Warrington in 1993, agreed that Libya should now publicly recognise the pain it had caused so many in the UK.

He has called on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to support the families in their quest.

'Same compassion'

Democratic Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson, who is hoping to travel to Libya with some of the relatives in the autumn, said the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi should show the same compassion as the Scottish government.

Libya was once a sponsor of worldwide terrorism, including support for the IRA, but the country and its leader have come in from the cold.

In 2003, it took responsibility for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, which claimed 270 lives, mostly American. It also abandoned efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Five years later, Col Gaddafi reached a final compensation agreement with the US over Lockerbie and other bombings.



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Profile: Muammar Gaddafi
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