Beirut Embassy Bombing Victims Win $8.4 Billion

     (CN) – Iran owes $8.4 billion to more than 300 who were injured or whose loved ones died in the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, a federal judge ruled.
     In 1983, a Hezbollah suicide bomber drove a vehicle filled with more than 2,000 pounds of explosives into the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 63 people. Six months later, Hezbollah carried out the more famous bombing of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut, killing almost 300 American and French soldiers.
     In the barracks bombing, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has issued more than $9.5 billion in judgments against Iran for its support of Hezbollah.
     The court on Thursday ordered Iran to pay another $8.4 billion for the Embassy bombing, adopting the recommendation of U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola.
     Plaintiffs in this case are one U.S. citizen and 58 foreign nationals who were killed or injured in the attacks while working for the U.S. Embassy, and 255 members of their immediate families.
     U.S. District Judge John Bates approved a baseline award of $5 million for most plaintiffs, and a $7 million award for two plaintiffs who suffered the greatest injuries.
     One of these victims “was mistaken for dead, and rescue workers threw her body from the building to an ambulance waiting below,” according to the ruling. “She remained in the hospital for eight months and underwent several surgeries for severe head injuries. The crown of her head had been split open, the roof of her mouth was cracked, her vision and hearing were damaged, all of her teeth were broken, and her hair was burnt off.”
     The other “required surgery to reconstruct her face,” Bates wrote. “She continues to be profoundly affected by her injuries: she is unable to eat certain foods because the roof of her mouth didn’t heal correctly, has eye pain, and relies on other people to take care of her in certain ways. She experiences constant dizziness and cannot tolerate loud noises. Because these injuries and their lasting effects are significantly more serious than those of most plaintiffs receiving the baseline award, but instead are comparable to those of other plaintiffs receiving a $7 million award, the court will award $7 million to Jane Victim RDoe.”
     The court slashed the recommended punitive damages award in half to $300 million, roughly triple the dollar amount of Iran’s material support to Hezbollah during the relevant time period.
     “The record in this case is filled with horrors; the suffering of the plaintiffs and the shattered lives left in the wake of the attacks are apparent on every page,” Bates wrote. “Cases like this vividly illustrate the faint approximation of full compensation the law offers where human lives, family relationships, and physical health have been destroyed. The court hopes that, despite their inherent inadequacy, the compensatory damages awarded here will help alleviate plaintiffs’ physical, emotional, and financial injuries. So, too, the court hopes that the punitive damages award will help deter Iran and MOIS [Ministry of Information and Security] from again inflicting such suffering on innocent people.”

%d bloggers like this: