Passengers and crew of a British Airways flight that was hijacked in Kuwait in 1990 are taking legal action against the UK government and the airline. This was reported by the British law firm McCue Jury&Partners, which represents approximately fifty victims.
Flight BA149 was en route from London to Kuala Lumpur on August 2, 1990, with a stopover in Kuwait, presumably to drop off a special unit (SAS) from the British Army, a few hours after Iraqi troops had invaded the country.
The passengers were taken hostage by Iraqi soldiers and, after a brief stay in a hotel, transported to Baghdad to be used as human shields against attacks by Western forces. Some of the 367 passengers and crew members were even held captive for up to four months. According to the law firm, they were subjected to mistreatment, starvation, and sexual assault.
The British government has always claimed that the responsibility for the hostage-taking lay entirely with the regime of then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. British Airways has consistently stated that it was not aware of the impending invasion.
However, documents released in 2021 indicate that the British ambassador had warned the government that Iraqi troops had crossed the border into Kuwait. Nevertheless, the flight was not diverted, according to British Airways, because the airline was not informed.
Evidence Against the British Government
With the lawsuit, the victims seek to “bring the truth to light,” according to their lawyers. They claim to have evidence that not only the British government but also British Airways was indeed aware of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
“The lives and safety of innocent civilians were sacrificed by the British government and British Airways for the sake of a military operation,” said Matthew Jury, partner at McCue Jury & Partners.
“Both [sides] have hidden and denied the truth for more than thirty years. The victims and survivors of Flight BA149 deserve justice because they were used as pawns.”
The case will be brought before the UK Supreme Court in early 2024. The victims seek compensation averaging £170,000 per person.