Big Award for Grandson of Assassinated General

     (CN) – The grandson of the former chief of Iranian armed forces will collect more than $300 million over Hezbollah’s assassination of his grandfather, a federal judge ruled.
     Chief Judge Royce Lamberth on Wednesday confirmed an award of $7.5 million in compensatory solatium for Amir Reza Oveissi, as well as $300 million in punitive damages.
     The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iranian Ministry of Information and Security are jointly and severally liable for the full amount, the brief decision states.
     Lamberth denied Oveissi’s claim for prejudgment interest and foreseeable property loss.
     The decision comes three years after the D.C. Circuit said the case, which had been initially dismissed under U.S. law, could be revived under French law.
     Gholam Oveissi, the plaintiff’s grandfather, had been a four-star general and military chief under the shah, deposed in a revolutionary coup in 1979.
     Gholam fled the country and eventually settled in France, where he shared an apartment with his son, his daughter-in-law and their child, the plaintiff, who had been born in California.
     While in France, Gholam regularly spoke out against the revolutionary government and met with other expatriates. Although he hired a bodyguard for protection, he was shot and killed on a crowded Paris street in 1984.
     Members of the terrorist group Hezbollah, then operating under the name Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for the assassination.
     Gholam’s grandson sued the Iranian government in 2003 for wrongful death and intentional infliction of emotion distress. Iran and MOIS provided the logistical support and training that allowed Hezbollah to carry out the assassination, an international terrorism expert testified during the bench trial.
     After conducting a bench trial on remand, the court entered liability and damages judgments in 2010.
     The initial decision awarded $7.5 million in solatium damages but denied recovery for alleged economic loss.
     Lamberth described his reasoning for the slightly reduced award in a 20-page opinion accompanying the final judgment Wednesday.
     “Over twenty-eight years have passed since Iranian agents gunned down General Oveissi on a crowded street in Paris,” Lamberth wrote. “While justice for Amir Oveissi has been delayed for decades, and while collecting on this award may prove tremendously difficult, this court applauds his longstanding efforts to hold Iran accountable for its cowardly support of terrorism. The court concludes that defendant Iran must be punished to the fullest extent legally possible for the violent assassination of plaintiff’s father, General Gholam Ali Oveissi. This horrific act impacted the Oveissi family deeply and this court hopes that the family may find some measure of solace from this court’s final judgment today.”

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