An attorney representing relatives and survivors of a man tortured and killed in Iran’s infamous Evin prison has request damages of $387 million in a lawsuit against Iran and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying, “The severest of punishments should apply here.”
The claim was submitted by attorney Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch on behalf of members of the Mohammadi family, including Manouchehr, Reza, Simin and Nasrin, whose brother, Akbar, died.
“Iran is a state sponsor of terror that is performing acts of terrorism on citizens of its own country as well as the United States,” Klayman wrote in a Memorandum on Damages under the Alien Tort Claims Act, the Torture Victim Protection Act and the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act.
He said, “The systematic imprisonment, torture, and extrajudicial killings being performed deserve nothing but the most extreme monetary punishment. Because the aware of punitive damages comes from multiple plaintiffs with multiple causes of action an amount of $300 million is appropriate in this instance… The amount is enough to punish the defendants, who continue to imprison, torture, and murder their own citizens and others who they oppose to this day.”
Klayman broke down the claim as $45 million for economic damages, $27 million for pain and suffering, “solatium damages,” which are mental anguish damages, of $15 million, and the $300 million in punitive damages.
“This amount is nothing but a drop in the bucket for the world’s second largest producer of oil and world’s most prolific and dangerous designated terrorist state,” Klayman noted.
He explained, “In cases such as this, the [court] analysis typically results in punitive damages in an amount three times Iran’s annual expenditure on terrorism, or $300,000,000.”
There was testimony submitted just weeks ago on the damages, since the defendants already are in default, having failed to respond to the court action.
The complaint charged Ahmadinejad, the nation’s supreme leader, the Revolutionary Guard, and the Islamic Republic of Iran as a whole brutally tortured and murdered Akbar Mohammadi.
He was the first student leader to call for “regime change” in Iran as part of the so-called Green Revolution, Klayman said.
“Hopefully,” Klayman said, “this trial will serve to wake up Americans and others to the threat of Islamic Iran to the civilized world, in order to have them demand that our government finally support the Iranian freedom movement by abandoning the administration’s policy of appeasement, truly support Israel, and eliminate these neo-Nazi mullahs and their proxies, as the nation was forced to do with Adolf Hitler.”
Testimony in the case was sought from former CIA Director Jim Woolsey, Iran experts Michael Ledeen and Ken Timmerman, and former U.N. Ambassador Alan Keyes.
“President Obama and his administration, rather than supporting freedom fighters like the Mohammadis and working for regime change (which would also eliminate Iran’s nuclear threat), have turned a blind eye to these crimes against humanity and instead, like Neville Chamberlain with Hitler, have sought to appease the Islamic Republic of Iran. Now, justice will finally be done in an American courtroom,” Klayman said.
WND reported earlier when Judge Beryl Howell scheduled the trial in the dispute on behalf of the Mohammadi family.
The case originated several years ago on behalf of Akbar and Manouchehr Mohammadi. They were two famous student leaders who were instrumental in kick-starting the freedom movement in Iran.
The students were imprisoned and tortured, and in Akbar’s case, killed by the Islamic regime in Iran. Klayman said the case not only seeks compensation for the atrocities but, more importantly, justice for crimes against humanity.
Klayman said few politicians in Washington, D.C., and, in particular, in the Obama administration, have been willing to even talk about the ongoing atrocities against “the brave Iranian people” for fear of alienating the mullahs in Tehran. Obama, he said, hopes Tehran will accede to U.S. sanctions and give up the development and production of atomic weapons.
“Indeed, even the Voice of America’s Persian News Network has been gagged from being too ‘aggressive’ about broadcasting news of these on-going atrocities,” Klayman said.
Howell’s earlier ruling said Ahmadinejad, Ayatollah Sayid Ali Hoseyni Khamenei, the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic of Iran were in default.
Klayman said Iran is a “major threat” to the world peace, and it needs to be put in its place.
“In so doing, not only will the Persian people be freed from bondage and terror, but the nuclear threat will have been largely eliminated, and Israel and the West protected from the horrors of this regime,” he said.
“Akbar was tortured and murdered in Evin prison, and Manouchehr was also tortured and held for seven years, under a death sentence. Manouchehr ultimately escaped and found freedom in the United States. But the case is far broader than just these two heroic freedom fighters and was brought on behalf of all of the victims of the regime, including U.S. servicemen who were murdered as a result of Iranian bounties put on their heads,” Klayman said.
Klayman argues that foreign sovereigns “are not immune in cases in which money damages are sought against a foreign state for personal injury occurring in the U.S. and caused by the tortious act of that foreign state or of any official of that foreign state while acting within the scope of his office.”
“Through tortious and violent acts, defendants have caused extreme [injury] to plaintiffs, citizens of the United States, not only by the brutal killing of their brother,” he said. “As such, immunity is not provided for such defendants.”
He said there is no doubt that the defendants, “acting individually and in concert with al-Qaida, Hezbollah, and other terrorist groups, were and remain engaged in terrorism and violations of human and civil rights in violation of the law of nations and international law.”
Akbar Mohammadi was a student of the University of Tehran and a critic of the Iranian regime.
According to the filing, Akbar Mohammadi was “was taken into custody by violent Iranian police and locked away in Evin Prison in Tehran, a place notorious for its cruel imprisonment of political dissidents.”
“Seeking to intimidate its population from engaging in political dissidence, defendants sought to make an example of plaintiff’s brother. However, defendants went beyond a mere imprisonment. While in prison, Akbar was subjected to repeated bouts of torture and cruel and unusual forms of punishment, forced to suffer from defendants’ acts that would be clear violations of United States law. … Through continuous, brutal and repulsive acts of defendants, plaintiff’s brother spent his final years in a constant state of agony.”
Eventually, even though Iranian doctors recommended he be moved to a hospital and treated, he remained in prison. He died July 31, 2006.