Monday, December 22, 2008

U.S. Pact Nullifies $6 Billion Award in '89 Bombing Over Africa

Kimberly Kindy writes in The Washington Post:

As the State Department reviews hundreds of claims from people who lost family members in Libyan-sponsored terrorist attacks, controversy is building over a case that is so low-profile it is sometimes called "the forgotten flight."

The case stems from the Sept. 19, 1989, bombing of the French-operated UTA Flight 772, which crashed in the Niger desert after a suitcase bomb exploded in the cargo hold, killing 170 passengers and crew, including seven Americans.

Family members of the American victims made history in January by becoming the first and only group to successfully sue Libya in federal court. After hearing the Pugh case -- named for the family of one of the victims -- U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy found Libya responsible for the attack and awarded 44 relatives a collective $6 billion.

Plaintiffs in the case became incensed in August when the United States reached an agreement with Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi to dismiss all lawsuits for victims of state-sponsored terrorism. Gaddafi agreed to turn over $1.5 billion, and the U.S. government started setting up a process for reviewing survivor claims and distributing the money.

More here.


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