The household of Amer Fakhoury, an American and former hostage imprisoned on the orders of Hezbollah in Lebanon, needs the Iranian regime to pay for his struggling in detention simply months earlier than his dying final yr.

During his imprisonment in Beirut, Fakhoury, of New Hampshire, was tortured and held in poor circumstances with out correct medical therapy. His household mentioned he developed most cancers which went untreated till his dramatic rescue and return to the U.S. He died from a most cancers linked to the Epstein-Barr virus in June 2020, and family mentioned they need justice and to ship a transparent message to the Iranians.   

Hezbollah is certainly one of a number of terrorist teams financed, supported, and directed by the clerical regime in Tehran. 

In an e mail to Fox News, family mentioned they have been suing Iran “for the illegal detention and the death of the late U.S. hostage Amer Fakhoury. When Amer was kidnapped, he was told by the Lebanese prosecutor that Hezbollah wants him in prison, and they cannot do anything about it.” 

The assertion continued, “Lebanon is currently under Iranian occupation. Hezbollah, a terrorist group funded by Iran, controls every sector of the Lebanese government. Our father’s death was a direct result of the torture and the maltreatment he received in the Lebanese General Security by members of Hezbollah.” 

Amer Fakhoury, of New Hampshire, died months after he was imprisoned by Iran-funded Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Amer Fakhoury, of New Hampshire, died months after he was imprisoned by Iran-funded Hezbollah in Lebanon.
(Amer Fakhoury Foundation)

It concluded, “The first lawsuit we decided to do is against Iran since Iran is the head of operation in Lebanon, however more lawsuits will soon be filed against every Lebanese official and Lebanese security officer that had any involvement in the torture and death of the U.S. citizen Amer Fakhoury. We will not rest until the people responsible for Amer Fakhoury’s death are held accountable.”

Fakhoury’s detention in 2019 led to the specter of sanctions from each side of the political aisle within the U.S. The cost was led by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., who was joined by Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. While the sanctions have been by no means authorized, Fakhoury’s family mentioned they thought the specter of them performed an necessary function of their father’s eventual return to the United States. However, the household has continued to push for sanctions towards Lebanese officers concerned of their father’s detention.

Fakhoury, a father of 4, was held with out expenses for almost six months after a Hezbollah-backed newspaper accused him of torturing Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorists within the ‘80s and ‘90s. Fakhoury, who fought with the South Lebanon Army during Israel’s occupation of the nation, was by no means beforehand accused of the cost, and had taken benefit of a Lebanese invite to ex-pats to return to his dwelling nation after not seeing household for 20 years. The largely Christian drive disbanded after Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, and Fakhoury sought refuge first in Israel and at last in America, the place he acquired citizenship, opened a profitable restaurant and have become an energetic member of the Republican Party.

The lawsuit, filed in federal courtroom in Washington, D.C., has been certainly one of many just lately filed towards Tehran. Indeed, simply final yr, a district courtroom choose in Washington dominated that Iran had to pay $879 million to American survivors and households of a terror assault in 1996, through which Saudi Hezbollah, one other Tehran terror proxy, bombed the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, which housed US forces. 19 U.S. airmen have been killed and scores of others injured following the large blast.

Questions despatched to the Iranian U.N. Mission spokesperson in New York for remark have been ignored. 

Steven Emerson, an knowledgeable on terrorism and head of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, a analysis group, advised Fox News the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA)  offered the foundations and {qualifications} for which nations could possibly be sued, overriding conventional diplomatic immunity. “One of the main conditions named in the FSIA and subsequent amendments that enables nations to be sued is for terrorism, which specifies the denial of immunity, if that nation has been involved in sponsoring, directing or assisting in any other way an act of terrorism or violence against American citizens or its assets.”

Amer Fakhoury celebrating Christmas with his family.

Amer Fakhoury celebrating Christmas together with his household.
(Amer Fakhoury Foundation)

Emerson, who has served as an knowledgeable witness in terror circumstances involving Iran and Sudan, went on, “Iran has probably been sued—and lost—the greatest number of times in U.S. courts by victims of terrorism, ranging from Americans who were killed by the Iranian-controlled Hezbollah terrorist groups to Americans killed by the Iranian-sponsored Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist groups to Americans tortured by Iran.”  

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He estimated that courts have dominated in favor of plaintiffs suing Iran in terrorism lawsuits to the tune of upwards of $10 billion, however he famous one huge downside. 

“Iran has never shown up, defaulted on all cases and refuses to pay one dime. And, efforts to seize Iranian assets in the U.S. by the plaintiffs have faltered because of court rulings against such seizures and strangely enough, by consistent prohibitions by successive presidential administrations—even prohibiting those who are owed billions of dollars by Iran having been guilty of committing an untold number of terrorist atrocities from collecting the billions of dollars of Iranian assets seized by the U.S. government.” 

Hezbollah fighters at a memorial ceremony in southern Lebanon, in 2016.

Hezbollah fighters at a memorial ceremony in southern Lebanon, in 2016.
(AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari, File)

Robert Tolchin, the lawyer for the household who has represented terrorist victims in comparable circumstances, advised Fox News the case has an excellent probability of succeeding. “It’s no secret that Iran sponsors Hezbollah and that really, Hezbollah is just a branch of Iranian foreign policy. So, I think the case has a very strong likelihood that we will prevail and then get a substantial judgment against Iran.”

Iran specialists similar to Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior analyst on the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), mentioned lawsuits just like the Fakhourys’ may make an influence. “Lawfare is but one vector that ought to be further explored against Lebanese Hezbollah and its patron, the Islamic Republic of Iran. Not only do the perpetrators of crimes against humanity need to be named and shamed, but strategic litigation can be used to help impose non-kinetic costs on terrorists to punish them for past actions, impede their present room for maneuver, and deter them from taking such actions in the future.”

He mentioned circumstances like this ship a critical message to Tehran. “The Biden administration should be encouraging these sorts of cases. It makes zero sense to be working overtime to claw back a fast-expiring and fatally flawed nuclear deal while ignoring events like this that happen far too often in the heartland of the Middle East. If anything, support for these sorts of claims can bolster the much-needed impression of resolve that the Biden administration needs to convey to Tehran if it is serious about engaging in negotiations. This sort of litigation is the strategically sound and morally right thing to do.”

The Fakhourys just lately commemorated their father’s passing and have arrange a foundation in his name. The basis has provided recommendation and monetary assist to households of Americans detained as hostages in overseas nations. 

Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich and The Associated Press contributed to this report.