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Victims seek USD 688 million from Pak-based Mumbai attacks accused

Washington: Nine American and Israeli victims of the 2008 Mumbai attacks have demanded a compensation of USD 688 million from the Pakistan-based perpetrators of the terror assault, including JuD chief Hafiz Saeed.In a re-submission before
PTI November 11, 2014 11:23 IST
PTI

Washington: Nine American and Israeli victims of the 2008 Mumbai attacks have demanded a compensation of USD 688 million from the Pakistan-based perpetrators of the terror assault, including JuD chief Hafiz Saeed.

In a re-submission before a New York court on October 30 and 31, the nine victims of the Mumbai attacks—from the US and Israel—argued for a “trial by jury” and “default judgement” against Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD)/Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).  They also argued for a “trial by jury” and “default judgement” against JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Sajid Majid, Azam Cheema and two other Pakistani nationals Major Iqbal and Major Sameer Ali.  

According to their attorney, the request for “trial by jury”, “default judgement” and a “USD 688 million compensation” was filed before the Eastern District Court of New York after November 1, 2013, court summons were duly served to JuD/LeT and other defendants in Pakistan to which they did not respond.

The compensation have been sought by the family members of seven persons who were brutally killed by LeT terrorists and two others who were injured.

The 26/11 American and Israeli victims had first filed their case on November 19, 2010.

They had also sought action against ISI and its chief, but the court ruled that out after the US State Department told the court that they enjoyed diplomatic immunity as they were a part of a foreign government.

According to court papers, LeT, its leaders and other defendants were served with court summons and complaints.  But they have failed to answer or otherwise defend against this action, alleged the attorney on behalf of the 26/11 victims including Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg, father of Rifka Holtzberg who was murdered alongside her husband Rabbi Gabriel Holtzberg during the attack on the Chabad House in Mumbai.

Among others include Rabbi Nachman Holtzberg, father of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg who was killed in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Other plaintiffs are Moses Shvarzblat and Maribeth Jeswani on behalf of family members killed in the attacks.  Andreina Varagona, who survived after getting shot in her right arm and leg in the attack, sued on her own behalf.  As many as 166 people died and more than 300 were injured when 10 LeT terrorists carried out the attack on multiple locations in Mumbai, including the Oberoi Trident Hotel, the Taj Mahal Hotel, the Leopold Cafe, the Cama and Albless Hospital, the Metro Cinema, the CST Railway Station and the Chabad House.

In June, the US added LeT affiliates, including the JuD, to its list of designated terror organisations.

Nine of the ten terrorists were killed during the siege.  In the court, the attorneys for 26/11 victims has said that the LeT and its leaders were successfully served the court summons at their addresses in Pakistan.  The victims alleged that the 26/11 perpetrators based in Pakistan decided not to respond to the court summons.  As a result they have now moved the petition for a default judgement against them.

In addition, the 26/11 victims have sought a total compensation of USD 688 million, according to court papers.  “At the time of the Mumbai terrorist attacks the defendant terrorist organisation responsible for organising and perpetrating the attacks functioned under the name Jamaat-ud-Dawa,” said attorneys James P Kreindler and Andrew J Maloney in their submission on behalf of the 26/11 victims.

“Over the course of its existence it had assumed several aliases, including Markaz-ud-Dawa, Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq and Tehrik-e-Tahaffuz-e-Qibla Awal, but the most internationally recognised and widely known alias remains LeT,” the attorneys said.

“The Mumbai terrorist attack was organised by a terrorist organization, LeT, with longstanding and well-documented hatred of the United States,” they said.  The attack “was carried out with the help of an American citizen, David Headley, involved the use of cell phones for which virtual numbers were purchased from a US company, Callphonex, specifically targeted Americans, and resulted in American deaths,” they said.

“That Americans were not the sole victims is only evidence of the terrorists' multi-pronged enemy list that included Israelis and Indians. The attackers targeted the Oberoi Hotel and the Taj Mahal Hotel because they were frequented by foreigners, and eye witness accounts from surviving hostages at both hotels tell of the harrowing experience of hearing the terrorists ask groups of hostages for American and British passport-holders,” the attorneys said in thier submission.