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Panel OKs Aid to Terrorism Victims

June 21, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved legislation to make it easier for victims of terrorism to collect multimillion-dollar court judgments.

The bill sets up a process under which American plaintiffs who prevail in court could recover the frozen assets by seizing frozen of nations that sponsored the terrorism.

The measure, championed by a group of former hostages and families of terrorism victims, next goes to the full House for a vote.

The Clinton administration opposes the measure on grounds that other countries might retaliate by seizing U.S. diplomatic properties abroad.

``We have moved one step closer to giving these victims and their families the justice they deserve,″ said Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla., the bill’s sponsor.

Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate and has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. It has wide bipartisan support in both chambers.

Among those the law was intended to help is Terry Anderson, a former chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press, who was held captive in Lebanon for nearly seven years.

Anderson earlier this year won a $341 million judgment against Iran, whom he accuses of orchestrating his imprisonment, but he has been unable to collect it.

The measure could also benefit the families of pilots shot down off the coast of Florida by Cuban fighter jets in 1996; and Stephen Flatow, of West Orange, N.J., who maintains that his daughter, killed in Israel in 1995, was another of Iran’s victims. He was awarded a $247 million judgment against Iran.

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The bill is H.R. 3485.

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