Passengers and crew of a British Airways flight who were taken hostage in Kuwait in 1990 have launched legal action against the United Kingdom government and the airline, a law firm said Monday.

People on BA flight 149 were taken off the Kuala Lumpur-bound plane when it landed in the Gulf state on August 2 that year, hours after Iraq’s then-leader Saddam Hussein invaded the country.
Some of the 367 passengers and crew spent more than four months in captivity, including as human shields against Western attacks on the Iraqi dictator’s troops during the first Gulf War.

94 of them have filed a civil claim at the High Court in London, accusing Britain’s government and BA of “deliberately endangering” civilians, said McCue Jury & Partners.

“All of the claimants suffered severe physical and psychiatric harm during their ordeal, the consequences of which are still felt today,” the law firm added.

The action claims that the UK government and the airline “knew the invasion had started” but allowed the flight to land anyway.

They did so because the flight was used to “insert a covert special ops team into occupied Kuwait,” the firm added.

“We were not treated as citizens but as expendable pawns for commercial and political gain,” said Barry Manners, who was on the flight and is taking part in the claim.

“A victory over years of cover-up and bare-faced denial will help restore trust in our political and judicial process,” he added.

July 1, 2024

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