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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 July, 2004, 20:52 GMT 21:52 UK
Court rejects islanders' appeal
Diego Garcia
Diego Garcia was taken over for a military base in the 1970s
A group of islanders exiled from their Indian Ocean home when it was turned into a military base have failed in their bid to return to their homeland.

Judges at the Court of Appeal also refused the Diego Garcians permission to challenge a High Court ruling preventing further claims for damages.

The exiles were forced to leave their island in the 1970s when it was taken over by the UK government.

On ruling, one of the judges said their complaints were legally unsustainable.

'Underhand conduct'

He also said the treatment of the islanders had been "shameful" but noted their complaints had been brought outside the time limit for launching legal proceedings.

In October 2003, the British passport holders, who have been staying in Crawley, West Sussex, lost a claim for compensation at the High Court.

Thursday's ruling prevents either them or their descendants from challenging that decision.

Lord Justice Snedley, sitting with Lady Justice Butler-Sloss and Lord Justice Neuberger, said: "This judgement brings to an end the quest of the displaced inhabitants... for legal redress against the state directly responsible for expelling them from their homeland.

High unemployment

"They have not gone without compensation but what they have received has done little to repair the wrecking of their families and communities, to restore their self-respect or to make amends for the underhand official conduct now publicly revealed by the documentary record."

The group arrived at Gatwick Airport in July 2003 and West Sussex County Council was ordered to pay for hotel accommodation for them.

They were exiled from their home when it was turned into a British and US military base.

They were sent to Mauritius, but high unemployment rates prompted them to come to Britain, where they were granted citizenship, and take action against the UK government.

Islanders fight for compensation
17 Jun 04  |  Southern Counties
Council to pay for exiled islanders
28 Aug 03  |  Southern Counties
Exiled islanders put up in hotels
20 Jul 03  |  Southern Counties
Islanders camp out at Gatwick
09 Jul 03  |  Southern Counties
The Chagos Islands: A sordid tale
03 Nov 00  |  Politics

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