(Bethesda, MD - Jan. 2, 2001) - In yet another blow to thecredibility of the Islamic Republic, a U.S. District Court inWashington, DC condemned the Ministry of Information and Security(MOIS) to pay $300 million in punitive damages to the family of slainopposition leader Cyrus Elahi, in a judgment rendered on Dec. 20,2000. The family was awarded another $11 million in compensatorydamages.
Cyrus Elahi, a deputy to Flag of Freedom Organization leader Dr.Manoucher Ganji, was shot eight times and killed by an assassin usinga gun with a silencer outside of his apartment in Paris, France onOct. 23, 1990. Two Iranian intelligence operatives engaged inplanning the assassination were subsequently arrested, tried, andconvicted in a French court. The evidence gathered by the Frenchcourt, including their sworn confessions, "strongly indicates thatthe original plot, conceived in Tehran by MOIS, was to assassinate anumber of individuals opposed to the Tehran regime, including Dr.Ganji, Dr. Cyrus Elahi, and others," U.S. District Court Judge JoyceHens Green wrote.
FDI Director Kenneth R. Timmerman served as an expert witness forthe Elahi family during the trial, and described the orchestratedMOIS campaign to assassinate political dissidents living overseas.
"As explained by Mr. Timmerman," Judge Green wrote in theFindings of Fact and Conclusions of Law accompanying the decision,"the Iranian government was concerned that Iranians living in exilewould coalesce around a single opposition leader and become a threatto the regime. Mr. Timmerman described the pattern of terrorism andassassination undertaken by the Islamic Republic as being to'decapitate the opposition.'"
FDI's list of Iranian exiles assassinated by the regime, enteredas Exhibit 29 by the Elahi family lawyers, was called by Judge Green"persuasive evidence of the pattern of assassinations instituted bythe Iranian government to silence its critics. Mr. Timmermantestified that in those cases of assassination he had investigated,the Iranian government consulate or embassy was directly involved inproviding safehouses, automobiles, money, passports, and escaperoutes to the perpetrators of those offenses."
Since U.S. courts began inflicting high monetary penalties againstthe Iranian regime for its terrorist acts in 1998, Tehran has beenmore subdued in its harassment of Iranian dissidents living in exile.Instead, it has resumed a campaign to murder and intimidatedissidents at home.
The FDI website containshyper-links to a series of articlesthat appeared on WorldNetDaily.com starting on9/25/2000 on the terror trials in the U.S., and how theClinton administration ordered the Department of Justice to actuallydefend the Islamic Republic in U.S. courts.
FDI was one of the first human rights groups to condemnthe assassination of opposition leaders Darioush and ParvanehForouhar in November 1998, and believes the continued brutalactions of the Islamic Republic leaders against the politicalopposition contradict public statements by Iranian leaders and manyof their sympathizers in the West of a "thaw" in Iran's domesticpolitical situation.
The Foundation for Democracy in Iran isa private, non-profit corporation registered in the State ofMaryland. Contact: Kenneth R. Timmerman, Executive Director(email@example.com).FDI materials are available free-of-charge via the Internet athttp://www.iran.org/.