Tunisia terror attack case expected to be heard next year

Survivors and relatives of British tourists killed in the 2015 Tunisia beach terror attack are due to have their damages bid against travel firm TUI heard early next year, lawyers have said.

Mass-killer Seifeddine Rezgui slaughtered a total of 38 people, including 30 Britons, in the attack at the hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba hotel complex on the Sousse coast, with dozens more injured, on June 26 of that year.

At a remote High Court hearing on Friday, it was confirmed that a trial of liability issues is expected to take place in February 2022, law firm Irwin Mitchell said.

The firm is representing more than 80 victims of the terror attack in their case against TUI UK Ltd.

The victims allege that the tour operator is responsible for safety and security breaches at the hotel which resulted in deaths of the British holidaymakers and serious injuries to others.

TUI denies the claims against it.

Kylie Hutchison, one of the Irwin Mitchell lawyers representing the victims said: “This is a highly complex and unprecedented legal case which is brought against TUI by the families of those killed and the survivors of the attack who were left seriously injured.”

An empty beach near the RIU Imperial Marhaba hotel in Sousse, Tunisia (Steve Parsons/PA)
An empty beach near the RIU Imperial Marhaba hotel in Sousse, Tunisia (Steve Parsons/PA)

She added: “The court has now confirmed that the trial of liability issues should begin in February 2022.

“This is an important step forward for our clients in their long-running battle to receive the justice that they deserve.”

Ms Hutchison said: “In the months and years leading up to this attack there was an escalation in terrorist activity in Tunisia which meant far more rigorous and effective security measures should have been in place at this hotel.

“While our clients have all suffered in different ways, they are united in their determination to ensure that justice is done for those killed and seriously injured and for lessons to be learned to improve safety standards for future holidaymakers.”

A TUI spokesperson said: “We remain truly saddened by what happened on that fateful day in Sousse in June 2015 when 30 of our customers lost their lives in a terrorist attack.

“Our thoughts remain with all of those who were affected by the horrific incident.

“As this is now subject to legal proceedings it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

In 2017 the coroner conducting the inquests of the 30 Britons murdered in the attack ruled they were unlawfully killed.

However, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith ruled against a finding of “neglect” by TUI, or the owners of the Riu Imperial Marhaba.