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Docklands bombing survivors claim victims have committed suicide while waiting for compensation

PUBLISHED: 10:00 16 February 2019

L-R: Jonathan Ganesh, Ihsan Bashir, Aazim Ihsan and Hannan Ihsan hold a memorial service for the victims of the Docklands bombing in 1996. Picture: JONATHAN GANESH

L-R: Jonathan Ganesh, Ihsan Bashir, Aazim Ihsan and Hannan Ihsan hold a memorial service for the victims of the Docklands bombing in 1996. Picture: JONATHAN GANESH

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The victims of the IRA Docklands bombing have claimed some have taken their own lives as they desperately wait for government help.

Devastation  in 1996 when IRA bombed Canary Wharf with Libyan-supplied semtex. Picture: Republic GalleryDevastation in 1996 when IRA bombed Canary Wharf with Libyan-supplied semtex. Picture: Republic Gallery

Survivor Jonathan Ganesh was speaking after a memorial marking the 23rd anniversary of the blast in South Quays which killed two and injured more than 100 in 1996.

The president of the Docklands Victims’ Association (DVA) urged ministers to stop dragging their feet and provide compensation from Libyan assets held in London following the overthrow of the country’s former dictator Colonel Gaddafi in 2011.

“It’s not about the money. It’s about paying for care. The victims can’t wait any longer. Please don’t let more people go to their graves knowing their life was worth nothing,” Mr Ganesh said.

He added that at least two members of the DVA had committed suicide since the atrocity.

Security guard Jonathan Ganesh rescued from Midland Bank bombing in 1996. Picture: East London AdvertiserSecurity guard Jonathan Ganesh rescued from Midland Bank bombing in 1996. Picture: East London Advertiser

But a parliamentary committee of MPs was told last November that the assets could not be used for Docklands victims. This was because Gaddafi’s regime wasn’t directly involved even though they supplied the semtex, the committee heard.

Susanne Dodd, whose father Stephen was killed in an IRA attack on Harrods in 1983, said: “So many victims are now in care homes and some have taken their own lives in desperation, waiting for adequate compensation from Libya.”

Ms Dodd added that US, French and German victims of Gaddafi-sponsored terrorism had already been compensated.

“I’m sorry but the lack of government support has demeaned, demoralized and disgraced victims in the UK,” Ms Dodd said.

Ihsan Bashir’s brother Inam was killed in the Docklands blast. After floral tributes were laid at the memorial plaque at South Quays DLR station, he said: “We must ensure that all victims of terrorism are never forgotten.”

A government spokeswoman said when assets were frozen, there was no lawful way to seize them or change their ownership.

She said: “In accordance with international law, the assets belong to the sanctioned individual or entity, and sanctions can only be lifted by the EU or UN.

“Ministers and our diplomats in Libya continue to press the Libyan authorities to engage with victims and their representatives.

“The government wishes to see a just solution for all victims of Gaddafi-sponsored IRA terrorism, and takes this issue extremely seriously.”

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