Rhode Island Lawyers Versus Iranian Terrorism
The Bloomberg wire service is carrying this terrorism-related legal story that has a Rhode Island connection…
The Iranian government must designate an official to answer questions under oath from a lawyer seeking to seize Persian artifacts in the U.S. on behalf of victims of a 1997 Jerusalem terror bombing, a judge ruled.The Rhode Island connection is Mr. Strachman, a partner at the local law firm of McIntyre, Tate and Lynch. (The Lynch is William J. Lynch, who also happens to be the chair of Rhode Island’s Democratic Party.)
A lawyer for nine of the victims is trying to enforce a $409 million default judgment obtained against Iran four years ago that made the nation legally responsible for training the bombers.
“The Iranian government is going to have to comply with the rules of this court instead of trying to interpose delay and stymie the process,” plaintiffs’ lawyer David Strachman said yesterday in a phone interview. “They have to comply with the rule of law.”
Iran hired U.S. lawyers last year to fend off Strachman’s efforts to enforce the judgment by seizing and selling Persian antiquities in the possession of the University of Chicago and the city’s Field Museum.
Iran’s lawyer, Thomas Corcoran Jr., has argued that the antiquities, about 300 clay tablets from the Persian Empire estimated to be 2,500 years old, are protected by the federal Foreign Sovereigns Immunity Act.
After suicide bombers set off bombs in the Ben Yehuda mall in Jerusalem in 1997, killing five and wounding 192, Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. Several of those wounded were Americans; with the assistance of Providence, R.I. lawyer David J. Strachman, five of them subsequently filed a federal lawsuit against Iran and Iranian officials (Jenny Rubin, et al vs. the Islamic Republic of Iran, et al.) on the basis of Iran’s having financed Hamas, which made Tehran legally responsible for the actions of Hamas. The judge in this case, Ricardo M. Urbina, noted that Iran budgets “between $50 million and $100 million a year sponsoring various organizations such as Hamas.”And this is not the first terrorism case that Mr. Strachman has been involved in. He also helped win a $116 million dollar judgement against the Hamas organization. As the Boston Globe reported in January of 2004…
But the Iranian regime would have nothing to do with the case and boycotted the proceedings. The plaintiffs won by showing that the bomb maker in this attack, Mahmoud Abu Hanoud, had been trained by Iranian agents, and they won monumental damages totaling $423.5 million.
How to collect? Ever creative, Strachman, targeted some 20,000 antique clay tablets of Persepolis, dating from about 553 B.C.-330 B.C., the oldest Persian tablets with alphabetical inscriptions. These have been housed in Chicago since as far back as the 1930s, at the University of Chicago and the Field Museum and Strachman claimed them on the grounds that the university had acknowledged that they rightfully belonged to Iran.
A Rhode Island federal judge has ordered the Palestinian militant group Hamas to pay $116 million to the family of an Israeli couple gunned down by terrorists in Israel…So, despite the new ad that Justin pointed out earlier today, never let be said that Anchor Rising fails to give positive coverage to trial lawyers when it’s appropriate!
“What it means is that private individuals can utilize the legal system to join the international fight against terrorism,” said David J. Strachman, the lawyer representing the family of Yaron and Efrat Ungar. “It empowers the victims.”
Hamas gunmen sprayed the Israeli couple’s car with bullets in 1996 on the road near the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh. Three Hamas militants went to jail for the killings, but their families sought to hold the group’s leadership responsible, as well.
The families became the first to file a lawsuit under a law Congress passed in 1991 allowing suits in US courts against foreign terrorist organizations. Their victory allows them to try to seize Hamas assets on US soil.