NEW YORK, Sept. 9 LAWFUEL – Law News Network– Seven Jewish-Iranian families have filed suit in an American federal court against former President Mohammad Khatami over charges that he is responsible for the kidnapping and torture of their missing family members. The families, currently residing in Los Angeles and Israel, contend that Khatami instituted the policy of
imprisoning their relatives without trials and refusing to provide them any information concerning their whereabouts. The Jews were arrested on
different occasions during the years 1994 through 1997, as they sought to
leave Iran across its border with Pakistan.

On Friday evening copies of the complaint and summons were served on
Khatami at a reception in Arlington, Virginia hosted by the Council on
American-Islamic Relations. Khatami has twenty days to file an answer
denying the allegations or default the case.
The plaintiffs, who are not U.S. citizens, brought the suit under
special laws – the Alien Torts Act and the Torture Victims Protection Act –
which permit foreigners to sue their tormentors for torture and kidnapping
in American courts. The lawsuit filed in the New York District Court is
being represented by attorneys Robert Tolchin of New York, Nitsana
Darshan-Leitner of Jerusalem and Pooya Dayanim of Los Angeles. The
plaintiffs are seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages against
Khatami for his role in the on-going disappearance of their loved ones.
Since the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979, millions of Iranian
citizens have sought to escape from the Islamic regime. In normal
circumstances when Muslim citizens are arrested attempting to leave without
official permission, the established punishment is a small fine or a short
jail term. However, in the instances where Jewish citizens have been
similarly arrested, the Islamic government has instituted much harsher
penalties. The Plaintiffs allege that Khatami has singled out the Jewish
community and authorized the policy of secretly imprisoning the Jews
Over the years, the Jewish families have received reports from other
former prisoners and guards that the missing Jews are alive and being held
in different prisons. In the case of the Tehrani family of Los Angeles, a
former Muslim neighbor has sworn out an affidavit testifying that he has
seen their missing son, Babak Tehrani, in a Tehran prison two years after
his disappearance.

“These Persian Jewish families are seeking to bring Khatami before an
American court for his involvement in the torture and imprisonment of their
loved ones in Iran,” stated the families’ attorney Nitsana-Darshan-Leitner,

“It is shocking that the State Department would grant this anti-Semitic
criminal a travel visa instead of joining with the families in the struggle to bring him to justice. The court case will establish that these missing Jews are indeed still alive in Iranian prisons and that the former President violated international law with his policy of arrests and torture which targeted the Jewish community.”

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