US Judge Rules Iran Must Pay Ex- Hizbollah Hostage
A US federal judge on Monday ordered Iran to pay $323.5 million in damages to Thomas Sutherland, a university administrator who was among 18 Americans taken hostage during the 1980s in Lebanon, according to the Washington Post.
Sutherland, now 70, was held for six and a half years, the second-longest stretch of any American captive. Journalist Terry Anderson, who was held 100 days longer, was awarded $324 million in a similar civil suit against Iran.
US District Judge Royce C. Lamberth said Sutherland, who was dean of agriculture at the American University of Beirut, was blindfolded, shackled and kept in a series of filthy dungeons after he was kidnapped by gunmen who belonged to the Iran-backed Hizbollah resistance movement. Lamberth also ordered Iran to pay $29.5 million to Sutherland's wife and daughters.
"Hallelujah!" Sutherland was quoted as responding to the verdict. "Iran should have to pay a price for committing terrorist acts like that."
It was the seventh time Iran has been ordered to pay damages under a 1996 US law meant to give “Americans who are victims of terrorist acts abroad a recourse in court.”
Iran has not defended itself in any of the cases and has shown no willingness to pay, said the paper.
However, Congress passed legislation last year that cleared the way for the plaintiffs to collect at least part of the awards from the United States, which then would assume their claims against Iran – Albawaba.com
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