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Iran ordered to pay $25m for killing

Associated Press / March 28, 2009
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WASHINGTON - A federal judge yesterday ordered Iran to pay $25 million plus interest to the family of Israeli soldier Nachshon Wachsman, who was kidnapped and executed by Hamas in 1994.

Wachsman was a 19-year-old US citizen and Israeli army corporal when he was taken by four members of Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the United States. His abduction - he pleaded for his life on videotape - damaged Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Wachsman's mother and six brothers filed the suit in 2006 against Iran and its Ministry of Information and Security, saying Tehran was responsible for the death because it provided training and support to Hamas. Iran refused to respond to the suit, resulting in a default judgment in favor of Wachsman's family. US District Judge Ricardo Urbina awarded $5 million to Wachsman's mother and $2.5 million to each brother for emotional distress, and $5 million to Wachsman's estate for potential lost earnings and the pain and suffering he endured for six days before being executed. The court ruled Iran should also pay 6 percent annual interest from the date of Wachsman's killing. It's unclear whether the family will get any of the money, said Michael Jacobson, a former senior adviser in the Treasury Department's office of terrorism and financial intelligence.

"It's been historically pretty difficult to collect against those types of cases," said Jacobson, a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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