U.S. Judge Blames Iran for 1996 Bombing Deaths in Saudi Arabia

[New York Times] Neil A. Lewis - A federal trial judge ruled Friday that the government of Iran bore significant responsibility for the June 25, 1996, bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, and ordered Tehran to pay more than $253 million in damages to surviving family members of American airmen killed there. Judge Royce C. Lamberth overturned an earlier ruling by a U.S. magistrate judge who had found that there was insufficient evidence to tie Iran to the terrorist attack, in which 19 military service members were killed. "What we have to do now is take the judgment and go all over the world and find assets that belong to the government of Iran," said Shale D. Stiller, the lawyer who brought the case. Prof. Ruth Wedgwood of Johns Hopkins University said such rulings had great value because "they officially categorize the behavior as illegal and often make clear facts everybody knows to be true" but are not acknowledged by governments for diplomatic reasons. Louis J. Freeh, the former director of the FBI, testified that six of the people who participated in the attack were trained by Iranian officials, sometimes in Iran, and received money and materials from the Iranian Ministry of Information and Security and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp. The perpetrators were recruited by a senior official of the Revolutionary Guard at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Syria.

2006-12-25 01:00:00

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