Canadian court hands over Iran assets to terror victims’ families
The judgment awards a reported $13 million to families of Americans who died in eight bombings or hostage-takings
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.