Final Pre-Inquest Review Hearing Regarding Terrorist Attack At Gas Plant To Take Place

Coroner To Consider Matters of Evidence Ahead Of Full Inquest Starting Next Week


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
The fourth and final pre-inquest review hearing regarding the four-terrorist attack at the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria which left more than 65 dead in January 2013 will take place tomorrow (Tuesday 2 September 2014).

Around 800 hostages were taken by the terrorists following the storming of the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria on 16 January 2013. More than 65 people were subsequently killed, some by the terrorists and others as gun battles took place between the terrorists and the Algerian military following the Algerian military’s attempt to re-take the plant and free the hostages.

Tomorrow, Her Majesty’s Senior Coroner Penelope Schofield, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, will finalise the details of evidence to be heard at the full Inquest into the death of seven of the victims which begins on 8 September 2014. The Inquest will last for eight weeks, concluding on 31 October 2014. It is understood that criminal legal proceedings arising out of the attack are also currently underway in Algeria. 

Specialist international personal injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are representing the family of Mr Carlos Estrada Valencia, a Senior Vice President for BP, which jointly operated the plant by way of a joint Venture with the Algerian state oil company ‘Sonatrach’, and Norway’s ‘Statoil’. 

Mr Estrada Valencia, who had worked for BP for 18 years and had risen to the position of Vice President of Non–Operated Assets, was on his first visit to the gas plant when he was taken hostage by the faction of Al-Qaeda terrorists who stormed the plant.  He was later killed.

Clive Garner, Head of International Personal Injury and Group Actions at Irwin Mitchell and representing Mr Estrada Valencia’s family said:
Expert Opinion
Families from across the world were left devastated by the terrible events and the dreadful loss of life that occurred at the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria last year.

“The full Inquest which begins next week is an opportunity to provide the vital answers that Mr Estrada Valencia’s family, and the families of other victims, desperately need about how their loved ones lost their lives in such tragic and traumatic circumstances.

“It is now more than 18 months since Mr Estrada Valencia died and his family still do not know exactly what happened to him or how this tragedy occurred. It is hoped that the Inquest will help our clients, and the families of all those who lost their loved ones, understand exactly what happened.

“For this to happen, the Coroner will determine, having heard submissions from us and other lawyers, what additional evidence will be made available at the 8 week Inquest hearing. We and our clients also hope that lessons can be learnt from the Inquest to reduce the risk of other tragedies like this occurring in the future.”
Clive Garner, Partner
Carlos Estrada Valencia’s wife, Claudia Gaviria, said: "We are still devastated every day when we think about Carlos. It is very difficult to come to terms with losing him when we still don’t know exactly what happened. It is important that we find out the truth about the In Amenas attack, not just for ourselves and the families of other victims, but also, to try and stop anything similar from happening again."

The full Inquest in this matter will take place at the Royal Courts in Justice in London between 8 September and 31 October 2014.

As well as representing the families of some of those killed in the In Amenas tragedy, Clive Garner and other Partners at Irwin Mitchell have also acted for the victims and families of those killed in a number of acts of terrorism around the World including the Lockerbie bombing (Pan Am flight 103), the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Centre in New York, the IRA bombing of the Arndale Centre in Manchester, and the 7/7 bombings in London.