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Friday, July 12, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Iran and Sudan Owe Bombing Victims $622M

(CN) - The Republics of Iran and Sudan must pay $622 million in damages to victims of the August 1998 embassy bombings that killed hundreds of people, a federal judge ruled.

The suicide truck bombings took place simultaneously at the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

In addition to the 224 people who died, the attacks reportedly injured thousands of others.

In 2011, a federal court found the Republic of Sudan and the Islamic Republic of Iran liable for what it described as these "unconscionable acts."

In determining the damages, the court adopted the findings of special master Paul G. Griffin, who awarded $622 million to 12 of the 71 plaintiffs in the case.

The remaining 59 plaintiffs had previously been awarded default judgments totaling $468 million.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates said while his decision ended one phase of the legal process, the victims "must continue the effort to actually recover their awarded damages."

More importantly, he said, they "must also continue to live with the devastating consequences of these callous acts."

Bates thanked the plaintiffs and their attorneys for their determination in going after the terrorists in court.

"They have helped ensure that terrorism, and its support by defendants, will not ultimately succeed in achieving its long-term goals," the judge said.

He added that most of the plaintiffs are American citizens and eligible to recover damages under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Egambi Dalizu, a Kenyan whose American wife was killed in Nairobi, was eligible for damages under law in the District of Columbia.

While Bates largely follow Griffin's recommendations, he did make some adjustments. These included eliminating a proposed $12 million award to the family of Marine Sgt. Jesse Aliganga for pain and suffering, due to the fact that he was not conscious after the bombing.

"As the special master recognized, Aliganga's 'head was crushed in the bombing and his brain avulsed (i.e. separated) from his skull," Bates noted.

For similar reasons, the award to the estate of Julian Bartley Jr. was reduced from $12 million to $1 million since Griffin noted that "it is unclear how long he suffered before succumbing to his injuries."

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