Terror victims can sue state sponsors

New legislation makes state sponsors of terror liable for damages to American attack victims.

The U.S. Senate passed the Justice for Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Act, an amendment to the Department of Defense authorization bill, on Monday night.

Sponsored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), the act enables American victims of terrorism to sue nations that sponsor terrorism and allows for the seizure of those nations’ assets to compensate victims. It also limits the number of appeals a terrorist state can pursue in American courts and provides protection to foreign nationals working for the U.S. government.

The legislation was drafted in response to unsuccessful attempts by the United States to hold the government of Iran accountable for the murder of 241 men in the bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983. It must be reconciled with similar legislation enacted by the House of Representatives and signed by the president.

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