Family of man shot dead by IRA sues Libya

Qaddafi regime armed the Republican terrorist group with guns and explosives

The family of a man shot dead by the Irish Republican Army is suing Libya over the supply of weapons to the terrorist organisation.

William Kingsberry Sr, who was a member of the Ulster Defence Association, a loyalist paramilitary group, was murdered – with Samuel Mehaffey – at his home in Belfast in Northern Ireland in 1991.

Former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi armed the IRA with weapons including guns and explosives, which were used in attacks throughout The Troubles – three decades of sectarian violence involving Irish nationalists seeking a united Ireland and pro-British forces.

An AKM assault rifle used in the murder of Kingsberry and Mehaffey was among the weapons supplied by the Qaddafi regime, lawyers argue.

A number of other victims of the Troubles are seeking compensation from Libya.

With that unlikely to be resolved in the short term, the victims have asked ministers to draw from the the billions of pounds of assets linked to Qaddafi that were frozen in the UK in 2011.

The UK government denied the request in March.

KRW Law, which is representing Kingsberry's two sons, said the refusal to compensate victims had left no other choice but to "initiate civil proceedings against the State of Libya".

“The grant of leave by the court to prosecute these actions provides a route to justice and compensation not just for the other 11 applications currently in front of the court but also to all victims of Libyan-supplied weaponry and to victims of arms supplied by apartheid South Africa," KRW spokesman Gary Duffy said.

"These proceedings arise out of the ongoing failure by the British government to provide proper redress to victims of Libyan-supplied weaponry and a need to address the ongoing justice deficit. All political engagement to date has failed these victims."

The government previously said it was unable to access the frozen assets because it is limited by international law.

However, victims say that the government could use the £5 million ($6.91 million) in tax revenue generated by the frozen assets every year.

The money is currently diverted to a fund used for general public spending.

Updated: July 7th 2021, 10:37 AM