August 01, 2012 “IOL” — New York – Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Iran should pay $6 billion to relatives of September 11 victims for aiding in the 2001 terrorist attacks, a federal magistrate judge recommended on Monday in a largely symbolic decision.
Even though it will be nearly impossible to collect damages, plaintiff Ellen Saracini, whose husband, Victor, was the captain of one of the planes that struck the World Trade Center, told the Daily News (http://nydn.us/OgIS41 ) that she is happy about Manhattan Federal Magistrate Judge Frank Maas’ recommendation.
“It’s hard being happy, but I am happy about it,” said Saracini. “But it opens up old wounds. We were never in it for a lawsuit. I wanted to know what happened to my husband.”
Last year, Judge George Daniels signed a default judgment on the lawsuit brought by relatives of 47 victims. He found al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Iran liable and asked the magistrate to determine damages. Maas’ ruling on Monday is a recommendation to Daniels, who can accept it or amend it.
Maas calculated punitive and compensatory damages for each of the plaintiffs and their lost family members.
Daniels ruled last year that the plaintiffs had established that the 2001 attacks were caused by the support the defendants provided to al-Qaeda. The findings said Iran continues to provide material support and resources to al-Qaeda by providing a safe haven for al-Qaeda leadership and rank-and-file members.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly denied any Iranian connection in the September 11 attacks or with al-Qaeda.