(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
NEW YORK – A Washington, DC federal court judge – in two separate rulings –
ordered Iran to pay a total of $600 million in punitive damages to families of
American citizens murdered and wounded in terror attacks that took place in
In the first case, in which Hamas claimed responsibility for a
2003 Jerusalem bus-suicide bombing, plaintiffs from the family of Alan Beer, an
American citizen killed in the attack, said Iran was legally liable due to
having provided financial support to the terror group.
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The second case
involved a 1995 Islamic- Jihad bombing of a bus in Gush Katif that killed eight
people and wounded dozens of others. American citizen Seth Haim, his father and
his brother, all injured in the attack, filed suit in US federal- district court
The punitive damages award, decided by US District Judge
Royce Lamberth, is largely symbolic.
Lamberth said he was making the
awards in the interest of deterring future terrorist attacks. Size restrictions
on damages, Lamberth said in his 21-page opinion, should not apply in terrorism
“The court... expresses hope that the sanction it issues today
will play a measurable role in changing the conduct of Iran – and other
supporters of international terrorism – in the future,” Lamberth said.
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collect Lamberth’s award, their lawyers must find Iranian assets in a country
with judges willing to order those assets seized on their behalf, based on
Lamberth has ruled similarly in other cases involving
Iran. In September of last year, he ordered Iran to pay nearly $92 million to
victims of the 1983 suicide bombing of US Marine barracks in Beirut.
ordered Iran to pay the survivors and their relatives a total of more than $30.6
million, as well as nearly $61.3 million in punitive damages to the two
plaintiffs who survived the bombing.
“The Court sincerely hopes that the
compensatory damages awarded today help to alleviate plaintiffs’ and
intervenors’ injuries, and that the punitive damages also awarded inspire Iran
to adhere to its professed opposition to terrorism,” Lamberth wrote in last
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