A motion for reconsideration has been filed in a case brought by an Iranian family against Iran and its then-president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, alleging there was an international Islamic terror campaign against dissidents of the regime.
The case was brought by attorney Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch USA on behalf of members of the Mohammadi family, who fled Iran when one of their members, Akbar Mohammadi, allegedly was tortured and killed by regime thugs.
The expatriates – who have been residents or citizens of the United States for years – brought the case before District Judge Beryll Howell and obtained a default judgment against the defendants.
However, at the last minute and after hearing evidence about the damages sought, the judge reversed course and dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Now Klayman, who also has said the case could be refiled in Spain, has given the federal court another opportunity to address the merits.
The motion for reconsideration explains: “It is imperative that the courts continue to take steps forward, no matter how small, to protect and free all people from such brutal violence and to ensure that victims of such torture are able to redress the harm through the judicial process.”
The filing says the Iranian regime is made up of “rulers and executioners of the Islamic Republican of Iran.” It seeks $380 million in damages.
The case is based on the fates of Akbar and Manouchehr Mohammadi, two student leaders who are credited with helping spark the modern secular freedom movement in Iran. Klayman said Akbar and Manouchehr were arrested, brutally tortured and, in the case of Akbar, murdered by the Islamists.
Klayman said that had the U.S. intervened strategically when the pro-democracy movement was developing in Iran, “this freedom movement could have changed the course of history by eliminating the nuclear threat from this radical Islamic terrorist state.”
Also plaintiffs are Nasrin and Simin Mohammadi, sisters of the two brothers.
The motion for reconsideration charges that the world for too long has “overlooked the brutal oppression” by Ahmadinejad and Iran.
“However, the U.S. and its branches of government, who so strongly stand by the proposition that all men are created equal and are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, cannot and should not cower from defendants by allowing these tyrants to continue their vicious and unimaginable attacks on innocent victims.”
He said the court has the power to enforce the rule of law and preserve the rights of the people.
That, Klayman wrote, “is the only remaining hope that justice will, in fact, be served.”
The case developed in 1994 when Manouchehr Mohammadi and brother Akbar Mohammadi organized pro-democracy gatherings. They were arrested and locked inside Evin Prison. Both were tortured, and Akbar died of his injuries.
While on leave from prison to attend Akbar’s funeral, Manouchehr fled to Turkey and later to the U.S.
Other family members also fled, under various threats, the case explains.
And the brief says the dismissal is improper because the judge already issued a default judgment.
“Upon entry of default, a defaulting defendant is deemed to admit every well-pleaded allegation in the complaint. If the admitted facts establish the defaulting defendant’s liability, the plaintiff is entitled to relief against the defendant. Therefore, when this court entered default against defendants on Dec. 8, 2011, defendants were deemed to have admitted very well-pleaded allegation … which not only gives rise to defendants’ liability, but also their concession that this court had jurisdiction.”
“For the reasons stated … plaintiffs’ respectfully request that this court grant plaintiff’s motion to reconsider this court’s may 31, 2013, memorandum opinion, dismissing this case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction,” Klayman wrote.
Nasrin Mohammadi and Klayman each made a series of videos that explain the importance of the case.