Chagos islanders exiled to make room for war planes

Exiled Chagos islanders thrown out of their homes in the Indian Ocean paradise isle, beloved by Blue Water sailors, in 1965 to make way for a US airbase have won a High Court victory in London.

Lord Justice Hooper and Mr Justice Cresswell ruled that orders made under the royal prerogative to prevent the return of the Chagos islanders to their homes were unlawful. They described as ‘repugnant’ the action to exile the population of the islands.

More than 2,000 islanders were forcibly removed between 1965 and 1973 to make way for the Diego Garcia US airbase, which has been used in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. After the hearing islanders called on the Queen to apologise for what her government had done and said they hoped to return home as soon as possible.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office was given 28 days to appeal. A spokesman said: ‘We are disappointed at the judgment.’