In what is considered a merely symbolic gesture, a federal magistrate judge in Manhattan, Judge Frank Maas, recommended that Al-Qaida, the Taliban and Iran pay $6 billion to relatives of the victims and survivors of 9/11 for aiding in those terrorist attacks. The recommendation is seen as symbolic because it will be nearly impossible to collect the damages.
Plaintiff, Ellen Saracini, whose husband Victor was the captain of one of the planes that hit the Twin Towers, participated in the lawsuit to find out what happened to her husband, more than anything else.
Last year, Manhattan Federal Judge Daniels signed a default judgment on the lawsuit brought by relatives of forty-seven victims. He held that Al-Qaida, the Taliban, Hezbollah (an Iranian proxy) and Iran were liable and then requested that Magistrate Maas determine the amount of damages. Maas’ determination can either be accepted or amended by Judge Daniels. Maas’ $6 billion figure represents both punitive and compensatory damages for each of the plaintiffs and their dead relatives.
Last year, Judge Daniels had ruled that the plaintiffs had proven that the 9/11 attacks were caused with the support the defendants provided to al-Qaida. According to Judge Daniels findings, Iran continues to provide material support and resources to al-Qaida by providing a safe haven for their members.
One of the plaintiff’s legal representatives indicated that it might seek seizure of Iranian assets in order to satisfy the judgment.
Plaintiff based their case on conclusions reached by the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation regarding the link between Iran, Hezbollah and the 9/11 terrorists. The Commission arrived at this conclusion after reviewing intercepts from the NSA.
Iran’s president Ahmadinejad denies that Iran was involved in any way with the 9/11 attackers.