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The East African : Aug 4th 2014
16 The EastAfrican NEWS AUGUST 2-8,2014 TERROR ATTACK Rescuers help survivors of 1998 terror attack in Nairobi. Picture: File Victims need ‘patience’ in collecting $8b Sudanese and I≥anian gove≥nments a≥e unlikely to volunta≥ily make payments o≥de≥ed by a US judge By KEVIN J KELLEY Special Correspondent A n attorney for hundreds of East African victims of the 1998 US embassy bombings has said they “need to have patience and determination” in collecting $8 billion from Iran and Sudan recently awarded to them by a US court. “We believe we’re going to obtain it,” declared Chicago-based attorney, Gavriel Mairone. “If we are lucky, it could happen in as little as two years.” Mr Mairone has extensive experience in cases involving terror attacks. His law firm represents more than 12,000 victims in a total of 26 countries. He says he abandoned his tax law practice 14 years ago in order to focus on representing individuals affected by war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. “I travel a lot and saw too much suffering. I decided I had to do something about it,” said Mr Mairone The governments of Iran and Sudan are unlikely to voluntarily make the payments ordered on July 25, he acknowledges. But Mr Mairone said the awards to a total of 570 embassy bomb victims could take the form of Iranian and Sudanese assets seized in the United States or other countries. Assets identification Mr Mairone said he and other attorneys involved in the case have begun legal proceedings to identify assets such as bank accounts and real estate held by Iran and Sudan and not protected under the legal principle of “sovereign immunity.” The countries’ embas- sies, for example, cannot be seized to satisfy the judgments issued in federal court in Washington DC by Judge Thomas Bates. In general, however, “judgments are notoriously difficult to collect in state-sponsored terrorism cases,” Legal Times, a US law journal, reported in regard to a $957 million award that Judge Bates ordered in April AWARDS Awards of $5 million each were given to those who suffered “some mix of serious hearing or vision impairment, many broken bones, severe shrapnel wounds or burns, lengthy hospital stays, serious spinal or head trauma and permanent injuries. Victims who sustained even worse injuries were awarded $7.5 million each. in a related case. Iran and Sudan are both li- able for the attacks in Kenya and Tanzania 16 years ago because of the assistance they provided to Al-Qaeda operatives, Judge Bates ruled in 2011. “Support from Iran and Hezbollah [a Lebanese militia] was critical to Al-Qaeda’s execution of the 1998 embassy bombings,” the judge wrote. “Before its meetings with Iranian officials and agents, Al-Qaeda did not possess the technical expertise required to carry out the embassy bombings. In the 1990s, AlQaeda received training in Iran and Lebanon on how to destroy large buildings with sophisticated and powerful explosives,” the judge added. Sudan shares responsibil- ity for the attacks that killed 224 Kenyans, Tanzanians and Americans and injured thousands more, Judge Bates found. “Sudan harboured and provided sanctuary to terrorists and their operational and logistical supply network,” he ruled. “Sudan provided bin Lad- en and Al-Qaeda hundreds of Sudanese passports. The Sudanese intelligence service allowed al Qaeda to travel over the Sudan-Kenya border without restriction, permitting the passage of weapons and money to supply the Nairobi terrorist cell.” In deciding the amounts to be awarded to each of the 562 East Africans and eight Americans included in his rulings, Judge Bates took account of their degrees of suffering and injury.
July 28th 2014
Aug 11th 2014