Letter: Gulf hostage row

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Kate Watson-Smyth reports (16 July) that BA has been ordered to pay compensation to French people held hostage in the Gulf following the capture of flight BA149 in Kuwait on 2 August 1990. She quotes a BA spokesman as saying that the French decision "differs from the interpretation of courts in other countries".

In fact, it is only the British passengers who remain without help. BA staff, as well as American and French passengers, have all been paid compensation, and other nationals were let free by the Iraqis.

The French got out early, thanks to a deal done by their government, and the Americans were well looked after by their government, as well as receiving compensation through the courts. So it is just the British who remain ignored by both their government and their national airline.

BA boasts that it is the world's favourite airline. It might consider looking after its own if it does not want this to rebound - "The world's favourite airline, but not British in behaviour".

Professor PAUL DIEPPE

Flax Bourton, North Somerset

The writer was one of the Gulf hostages in 1990

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