Osen LLC (together with co-counsel) represents families of Americans who were victims of Iranian- and Syrian-supported terrorism in Iraq between 2003 and 2011 in lawsuits filed against the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Syrian Arab Republic, both designated State Sponsors of Terrorism.
The lawsuits allege that Iran and Syria have long used terrorist surrogates, including Foreign Terrorist Organizations al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda in Iraq (later known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (“ISIS”)) and Ansar al-Islam, as well as other Sunni terror cells, to encourage and facilitate attacks against U.S. armed forces in Iraq, as well as attacks on other American and foreign targets.
Specifically, the lawsuits allege that Iran and Syria provided material support to these terrorist groups, providing them with sanctuary, strategic assistance, weapons, and training. Iran provided its material support to the terrorist groups via its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (“IRGC”), the IRGC’s foreign operations directorate called the Qods Force (“IRGC-QF”), Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence (“MOIS”), and Iran’s Lebanese terror proxy, Hezbollah. Syria provided its material support to the terrorist groups at the behest and direction of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad through Syrian military and intelligence officials, employees, and agents.
The lawsuits are brought under the Terrorism Exception of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), which is the mechanism used to sue State Sponsors of Terrorism like Iran and Syria. Federal judges have consistently awarded monetary damages to terror victims under the FSIA’s Terrorism Exception for deaths and injuries caused by, for example, the Libyan bombing of an airliner over Scotland, Iranian kidnappings, and Iranian material support to Palestinian terrorist groups.
Unlike the majority of cases brought under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), defendants in FSIA cases rarely appear in court to contest the allegations brought against them. Although plaintiffs are still required to present evidence and prove their case to a court’s satisfaction, obtaining a judgment against a State Sponsor of Terrorism is not as difficult as enforcing and collecting on it.