WASHINGTON - A former Somali prime minister denied diplomatic immunity must pay $21 million in damages to the victims of his alleged torture and human rights abuse, a US federal court ruled on Tuesday.
Mohamed Ali Samantar, who served as Somalia's defense minister in the 1980s and prime minister from 1987 to 1990, agreed in February to not contest the charges and accept liability for any damages against the seven plaintiffs - four individuals and three estates.
The lawsuit, seeking financial damages from Samantar, was filed under the Torture Victim Protection Act in 2004 by a small group of Somalis who said they suffered torture or other abuses in their homeland by soldiers or other government officials under Samantar's general command.
Samantar has lived in Virginia since 1997. Some of the plaintiffs are naturalized US citizens.