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Court awards over $6 billion in damages to 9/11 victims

David Demirbilek
Contributor

On Wednesday the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York officially ordered $6 billion in damages against supporters of terrorism implicated in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The assessment of damages originates from the case Havlish v. Bin Laden, originally filed in 2003 by surviving family members and legal representatives of 9/11 victims.

On December 22, 2011, a New York federal district court ruled in the case that numerous defendants, both sovereign nations and individuals, directly and materially supported al Qaeda, opening them to liability in U.S. courts.

Among the defendants were the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Ayatollah Khamenei, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran, Hezbollah, and various other Iranian governmental agencies and corporations. Also liable as defendants were Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, and the Taliban.

The court on Wednesday adopted the approximately $6 billion in damages from an unofficial report prepared by a federal judge after the December 22 ruling.

Included in the damages was a $2 million award for each deceased family member of the plaintiffs. Additionally, the court ordered compensation for grief and mental anguish at up to $12.5 million per deceased relative.

After tallying up the damages, the court more than tripled the figure to calculate extra punitive damages, a standard practice in cases arising out of terrorist attacks. These punitive damages totaled approximately $4.7 billion.

Although largely a symbolic ruling, Wednesday’s order marks the final step in the 9/11 trials held in the Southern District of New York.

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