Payouts of tens of millions of dollars to 16 terrorists provoked a public uproar as relatives of those killed in the 7/7 London attacks said the settlement was a sickening taint to the memories of the victims.
UK DAILY MAILMPs said the deal to silence men who claim to have been tortured with the help of British spies was money for old rope and had given comfort to our enemies. ‘The world must have gone mad when people making baseless allegations of torture are getting more than victims of terrorism receive in compensation,’ said Labour MP Ian Austin.
The outrage grew when it emerged that full details of the compensation deal, which could total up to $48 million, will be kept secret.
Up to $1.6 million has been handed to each of the former Guantanamo Bay detainees including Binyam Mohamed, who alleges MI5 and MI6 agents fed questions to his interrogators. Another recipient is Shaker Aamer, a former British resident who is still being held in the U.S. detention camp in Cuba.
In a statement to the House of Commons, Kenneth Clarke defended the payouts, saying the alternative was a protracted and extremely expensive legal case. The cost of continuing to fight a legal action by the men could have reached $80 million over five years, the Justice Secretary said. He claimed the deals included no admissions of culpability.
‘If you look on Islamic websites you will see they are crowing already’, claiming the Government has admitted ‘we were involved in torture and illegal deportation’.
‘But while we’re not saying that, we’re prepared to pay very large sums of money that is tantamount to an admission of guilt. This has inevitably given some comfort to our enemies.’
But John Taylor, whose daughter Carrie died in the July 7 London bombings, said: ‘When I heard about it I felt sick to my stomach and very disappointed. These guys don’t go out to Afghanistan or Pakistan to get a suntan. I deplore the idea of these payments. These payments send out the wrong signal and taint the memories of the victims of 7/7.’