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Anderson receives compensation judgment for six years of captivity

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    NMU         WASHINGTON, D.C.         Press at Home & Abroad         Mar 30, 2000    

Anderson receives compensation judgment for six years of captivity

  • Former AP reporter and hostage Terry Anderson was awarded $341 million in his suit against the Islamic Republic of Iran over his 1985 abduction in Beirut.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ordered Iran to pay $341 million on March 24 to one-time hostage Terry Anderson and his family for treatment he deemed both “savage and cruel by any civilized standards.”

Anderson, chief correspondent for the Associated Press for the Middle East, was abducted on March 16, 1985 as he returned to his apartment in East Beirut where he and his wife, who was seven months pregnant, were living. He spent the next six years in captivity, blindfolded and chained as he was moved repeatedly and left in unsanitary dwellings.

His wife, Madeleine Basil, raised their child, Sulome Theresa Anderson, on her own and repeatedly fought bouts of depression, she testified. The couple said that adjusting to a new life was difficult after the family’s reunion.

Jackson’s opinion said the evidence from the lawsuit filed in March 1999 against Iran and its Ministry of Information and Society clearly states that Anderson had been held captive by agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran, known as Hezbollah or the “Party of God.” An expert testified that the taking of foreign hostages was a “principal activity” of Hezbollah to further its political aims.

Iran was ordered to pay $24.5 million to Anderson, $10 million to his wife and $6.7 million to Sulome. Jackson ordered an additional $300 million to be payed to the family by the Ministry of Information and Security in lieu of punitive damages. The Iranian government did not appear for the trial or respond to served papers, and was ruled in default.

Anderson, however, may never see the money. Payment of the award would have to come from U.S.-owned Iranian assets, but a Clinton Administration official told the Associated Press that such money “cannot be touched because of international agreements.”

(Anderson v. the Islamic Republic of Iran)

© 2000 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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