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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007, 05:33 GMT 06:33 UK
Secret settlement over UN worker
Iain Hook's UN identity card
Iain Hook was working for the UN when he was killed
A secret financial deal between the Israeli government and the family of a British UN worker shot in Jenin in 2002 has been officially confirmed.

Iain Hook, 54, of Felixstowe, Suffolk, was shot by an Israeli soldier.

In June 2005 the BBC appealed to the Information Commissioner after the Foreign Office rejected a Freedom of Information (FOI) request on the case.

After two years the Commissioner has now turned down the appeal, but revealed there had been a deal done.

In the Decision Notice to BBC News the Information Commisioner's Office says: "The Israeli government agreed a financial settlement with members of Mr Hook's family."

In the past the British government has always refused to confirm a settlement had been reached.

Since the original FOI request an inquest in Ipswich in December 2005 found that Essex-born Mr Hook, project manager for United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), had been unlawfully killed by an Israeli sniper.

The UN compound
Iain Hook was shot in a UN compound in Jenin

The Foreign Office refused the request on the grounds that releasing information on the death could damage Britain's relations with another state.

John Gillan, of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, also said other information on the death could not be released because it related to the "formulation or development of government policy".

The Information Commisioner's Office says it accepts that when a UK citizen working for an relief organisation meets "an untimely death ... there is a strong and entirely justifiable argument for making available whatever information exists".

But, it adds: "The commissioner needs also to recognise the practical political realities of which the unfortunate death of Mr Hook is not a matter that can be viewed in isolation."

It concludes: "In this case the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information."

A spokesman for the Israeli Defence Force said its inquiry found that as "no criminal act had been committed... no criminal charges were filed against any soldier involved".

He said Mr Hook's family "received compensation for the incident ex-gratia".


SEE ALSO
Short urges action over shooting
17 Nov 06 |  Suffolk
Questions over UN worker's death
16 Dec 05 |  Suffolk
UN worker 'refused flak jacket'
13 Dec 05 |  Suffolk

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