DOJ moves to dismiss Iran hostage suit

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] has filed a motion to dismiss [text] a lawsuit brought against Iran by hostages from the 1979 hostage situation [backgrounder] in Tehran. The class-action lawsuit, brought by from former hostages Charles Scot, David Roeder, Don Sharer, and the family of Barry Rosen, seeks $6.6 billion in damages. The DOJ argued in their motion, filed Tuesday, that the Algiers Accords [text, PDF] precluded lawsuits against Iran in regards to the hostage situation. The plaintiffs argue that section 1083 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 [materials] allows them to bring private lawsuits against foreign governments that engage in terrorism. The DOJ responded that:

While Section 1083 may create a private right of action against foreign governments like Iran for other terrorist acts, it stops far short of creating a private right of action for claims arising out of the 1979 hostage taking. Because of the Court’s dismissal of plaintiffs’ prior suit, Congress was well aware that only a clearly expressed abrogation of the Algiers Accords would permit a cause of action arising out of the 1979 hostage taking.
In 2003, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia [official website] ruled against [opinion, PDF] the hostages. In that case, the US intervened and successfully argued a sufficient interest in upholding the agreement reached in the Algiers Accords and that legislation enacted since the agreement had no effect on it. In 2004, the US Supreme Court [official website] denied [order text] the petitioners' request for certiorari.

 

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