Cana­dian court hands over Iran as­sets to ter­ror vic­tims’ fam­i­lies

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

TORONTO—A Cana­dian judge has or­dered Iran’s non-diplo­matic land and bank ac­counts in Canada to be handed over to vic­tims of at­tacks by Ha­mas and Hezbol­lah, spon­sored by Tehran.

The judg­ment, ob­tained by Agence France-Presse on Fri­day, awards a re­ported $13 mil­lion to fam­i­lies of Amer­i­cans who died in eight bomb­ings or hostage-tak­ings in Buenos Aires, Is­rael, Le­banon and Saudi Ara­bia from 1983 to 2002. Hun­dreds died in the at­tacks.

The fam­i­lies, led by the par­ents of Marla Ben­nett, who was killed when a sui­cide bomber struck at a cafe­te­ria at He­brew Univer­sity in Is­rael in 2002, had suc­cess­fully sued the Is­lamic repub­lic in the United States.

The US court found that Iran was re­spon­si­ble for train­ing Ha­mas and Hezbol­lah op­er­a­tives, as well as back­ing the groups fi­nan­cially.

But those judg­ments re­main largely un­paid. “Ter­ror­ism is one of the world’s great­est threats,” On­tario Su­pe­rior Court Jus­tice Glenn Hainey said in his de­ci­sion.

“The broad is­sue be­fore the court is whether Iran is en­ti­tled to im­mu­nity from the ju­ris­dic­tion of Cana­dian courts for its sup­port of ter­ror­ism.”

The Cana­dian law­suits were brought un­der a rel­a­tively new law passed in 2012 that al­lows vic­tims and their fam­i­lies to col­lect dam­ages from state spon­sors of ter­ror­ism. Canada lists Iran as a state spon­sor of ter­ror­ism. Iran did not de­fend against ei­ther the US or Cana­dian law­suits.

The rul­ing comes as Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau’s Lib­eral gov­ern­ment seeks to re-es­tab­lish diplo­matic ties with Iran, and fol­low­ing Tehran’s de­ten­tion of a Montreal pro­fes­sor, Homa Hood­far, with­out charges.—Agen­cies

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