(CN) – Iran must pay over $33 million in damages for the death of David Ben-Rafael in a Hezbollah terrorist attack, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ruled.
Judge Ellen Huvelle ordered a default judgment against Iran when she reaffirmed a February 2008 decision by a lower court.
Ben-Rafael was killed in a 1992 Hezbollah-orchestrated suicide car bombing at the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. The court found that the Iranian government played a “pre-eminent role in the creation of Hezbollah” and substantially funded the organization’s activities.
“Hezbollah conducted terrorist acts around the world on Iran’s behalf,” Huvelle wrote.
Plaintiffs had not yet received compensation for previously awarded damages and sought a reissuing of their prior judgment under the 2008 National Defense Appropriations Act. The Act creates a private right of action against state sponsors of terrorism and would allow plaintiffs to impose liens on property belonging to Iran.
Normally, the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act would preclude such an action. However, the Act waives immunity for “state sponsors of terrorism.”
Iran has not responded to the ruling.