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French firm to compensate Karachi blast

Published on 16/01/2004

SAINT-LO, France, Jan 15 (AFP) - The state-owned French Naval Construction Directorate (DCN) was ordered Thursday to pay EUR 705,000 (USD 890,000) in damages for failing to provide proper protection to its workers killed in a suicide bombing in Karachi in May 2002.

A tribunal in the northwestern town of Saint-Lo ruled that the DCN had committed an “inexcusable fault” by failing to upgrade security despite the added risks of a terrorist attack after France’s participation in the US-led offensive on Afghanistan.

The case was brought by six of the 11 French victims of the blast, which took place on a bus carrying DCN staff to a dockyard where they were building a submarine for the Pakistani navy. In all 14 people died in the explosion and 12 other French people were injured.

The DCN said it would appeal against the decision.

At a hearing in December, lawyers for the families said that DCN staff took the same bus at the same time every day for their journey from the Sheraton Hotel to their workplace, which made them an easy target.

But DCN lawyer Bruno Labey-Guimard said that at the time the company believed the primary risk to be of kidnapping or riots. “Against suicide bombings there are not really any measures that can fully ensure security,” he said.


                                Subject: France news