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Thursday, July 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Hamas Victims Can Go|After Iran for $317 Million

WASHINGTON (CN) - Iranian secret police must help pay nearly $317 million previously awarded over a Hamas bus bombing in Jerusalem that killed a 19-year-old American, a federal judge ruled.

The family of Yonathan Barnea won a $316,988,300 judgment against Iran and Ayatollah Ali Hoseini Khamenei in 2006, but the Iranian Ministry of Information and Security was dismissed as a defendant in that case.

After Congress revamped the state-sponsored terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) in 2008, Barnea's family sued Iran and the MOIS again.

Chief U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth found Monday that "the defendants' actions are no less heinous now," confirming the prior award of $300 million in punitive damages, and extending it against Iran and MOIS.

"Judgment in the previous case is not vacated because Khamenei is not a party in this case," Lamberth added. "The outstanding judgment from that case in the amount of $300,000,000 against Khamenei shall remain outstanding."

The 21-page ruling notes that Barnea was killed on the Number 18 Egged passenger bus in Jerusalem on Feb. 25, 1996.

Hamas, a terrorist organization supported by Iran, had directed another passenger to detonate explosives aboard the bus.

Barnea's estate, led by administrator Jeffrey Bodoff, sued Iran, the Iranian Ministry of Information and Security (MOIS) and Ayatollah Ali Hoseini Khamenei.

Both Iran and the MOIS are responsible for $16.9 million in compensatory damages and the $300 million in punitive damages, jointly and severally.

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