The London police says it owes no apology to a European family whose van, which had had “Iran Is Great” written on its sides, was recently attacked outside a museum.
British media said Tuesday that the insurance and claims department of the London Metropolitan Police have recently wrote to Cristian Ivan, the owner of the van, explaining that it would not offer any compensation over an officer’s smashing of the vehicle’s windshields.
“It would be unreasonable to expect this service to pay compensation when police were merely carrying out the duty the public rightly expect of them especially given the heightened counter-terrorism threat level,” the letter said, adding, “Where police force entry lawfully as was the position here, and in doing so cause damage, there is no legal liability to compensate in respect of damage necessarily caused.”
The family of four, including the Romanian father, his French wife Audrey, and the two German-born children, have been living and traveling in their van for the past five years. They routinely visit various sites and museums as part of their home-schooling of the kids.
The Ivans are also known for their promotion of Iran, a country they fell in love with after a visit last year, which prompted them to put “Iran Is Great” artworks on both sides of their vehicle.
However, the family saw their van at the center of a high-level security alert situation in downtown London on August 4 after returning from a visit to the nearby Natural History Museum.
Police said they became suspicious of the van due to the writings on the sides and then smashed the windows fearing it contained a bomb. The only thing they found, however, were dolls and other ordinary possessions of the family.
A policewoman had told the Ivans later that the writing on the van prompted police action.
“That’s the justification. It doesn’t say ‘Spain is Great’, ‘Italy is Great’, whatever,” the policewoman said.