A federal court in Washington ruled that terror victims can sue state sponsors of terror like Iran and Syria and terrorist groups like Hamas.
By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel
TAYLOR FORCE, et al., Plaintiff, vs. THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN, et al., Defendant. Civil Action No. 16-1468 (RDM)
In a big victory in the war on terror, a U.S. federal court ruled that countries that encourage terror can be sued for their role in so-called “lone wolf” terror attacks.
The decision means that state-sponsors of terror like Iran and Syria, and terror groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, can be held liable for damages in wrongful death suits. This means they can hit with multi-million or even billion dollar judgments for attacks by individuals inspired by the terrorist ideologies coming from such countries or terror organizations.
Even though many lone wolf attacks are not directly connected to any group or country, legal experts from the Shurat Hadin legal group successfully argued that terror groups and state sponsors of terror work behind the scenes to facilitate terror attacks, which appear to be spontaneous, lone wolf attacks, but in reality are ideologically connected to other organizations or state actors.
Shurat Hadin filed the case five years ago, representing 44 plaintiffs including Americans, Israelis and dual-citizens. The group has won judgments against Iran, Syria, Hamas, and and other terror groups in the past, but this is the first time that anyone has won a U.S. judgment against such groups for inspiring individual attackers.
“This is a precedent and a significant victory for the victims of terror,” said Jerusalem attorney Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, who heads Shurat Hadin-Israel Law Center.
Among the victims Darshan-Leitner represented was Jerusalem resident and American-Israeli dual citizen Richard Lakin, who along with two others was murdered in a brutal terrorist attack by Hamas members in 2015.
“The court found that behind every terrorist is a terrorist organization, so it is not an uncontrollable wave of attacks in which anyone can take a knife and stab at random Jews, but it is a deliberate and scheduled campaign by the Hamas organization,” Darshan-Leitner said, adding that had the legal war against terrorist organizations started earlier, it might have reduced the number of terror attacks.
“Now it is clear to everyone that ‘lone wolf’ as it is called in the lawsuit is not really lone, but it is a gang of wolves behind an extensive terrorist infrastructure, so the war must be at its roots,” she said.