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UK court hears London transit bombing lawsuit

[JURIST] Lawyers for victims of the July 7, 2005 London transit bombings [JURIST news archive] argued on Monday in the Royal Courts of Justice that UK authorities possessed information that could have helped them prevent the attacks. The theory for the case is built on intelligence that British security service MI5 [official website] and the London police had uncovered about the four suicide bombers prior to the attacks. Counsel for bereaved families argued that the UK government breached obligations to its citizens under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights [text], which provides for the right to life. MI5 and the Home Secretary [official website] argued in response to the prosecution's arguments that the matter has already been investigated in the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) [official website] and that the intelligence could undermine law enforcement efforts if made public. The hearing is scheduled to last for three days.

In January, the UK government introduced a scheme [JURIST report] for compensating victims of overseas terrorism, using a plan that closely mirrors that used to compensate families of the July 2005 bombings [BBC backgrounder]. In November, London police reached a settlement [JURIST report] with the family of a man mistaken for one of the terrorist suspects involved in the bomb plot. In April 2008, the UK Court of Appeal rejected the appeal [JURIST report] of four men found guilty of plotting the London attacks. The 2005 bombings targeted three trains and one bus, killing 52 people and injuring at least 770.

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