Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

ANDERSON v. THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN

March 24, 2000

TERRY A. ANDERSON, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
V.
THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas Penfield Jackson, District Judge.

DECISION AND ORDER

Upon the evidence adduced at the ex parte non-jury trial before this Court February 15-16, 2000, from which the facts set forth below are found pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(a), the Court concludes that judgments shall be given for plaintiffs.*fn1

I.

The evidence presented at the trial establishes that in March of 1985, Terry Anderson, a thirty-eight year-old ex-Marine and seasoned combat veteran, was chief correspondent for the Associated Press ("A.P.") for the Middle East. He had been in Beirut since the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and had acquired a considerable understanding of the country and its myriad warring factions. Anderson was highly respected by his professional peers as a knowledgeable, resourceful, and extraordinarily well-connected reporter. Major news organizations regarded his by-line stories for the A.P. as a primary source for their coverage of the region. Anderson's next assignment for the A.P. would likely have been as chief of a major bureau or an editor in New York.

While returning by automobile from an early Saturday morning tennis game on March 16, 1985, to the West Beirut apartment where he and Madeleine were living, Anderson stopped briefly to drop off his tennis partner. Anderson was quickly accosted by several young men, forced out of his car at gunpoint, and thrust onto the back-seat floor of his assailants' vehicle. They covered him with a blanket, drove him at high speeds through the streets of Beirut to the first of many places of confinement where he was shackled and blindfolded. Anderson was to remain in chains for all but the last two weeks of his captivity.

Anderson's ordeal was typical of that of his fellow hostages described in Cicippio v. Islamic Republic of Iran, supra, n. 1. At first, Anderson was roughed-up regularly, threatened with death if he tampered with his blindfold to look at his captors, and was fed only bread, occasionally a fragment of cheese, and water. Although chained and blindfolded, Anderson became aware over the ensuing weeks that other captives were being brought in to the same enclosure, but then walled off from one another with wooden partitions. (Anderson later learned that among his new companions — there were ultimately five altogether — were Father William Jenco and William Buckley.) All of the captives became ill as a result of the unsanitary conditions in which they were confined, and Buckley, untreated despite the gravity of his condition, eventually died of his illness.

In time, the remaining hostages were transported by truck — wrapped from head to toe in plastic tape each time they were moved — to yet another prison, this time a filthy dungeon with darkened cells for each prisoner, equipped only with a mattress, a water bottle, and a second container to collect urine. All the prisoners developed diarrhea; yet, being chained to the floor, they were unable to escape their own excrement.

All told, Anderson estimates that he and his fellow captives were moved from cell to cell some twenty-five times. They were bound with tape each time, leaving only their nostrils exposed, then laid prone in the narrow compartments under the beds of trucks and driven around for hours while being forced to inhale the vehicles' exhaust fumes. With each transfer they were fearful that this time their destination might be the place of their executions. Once hostages arrived at a new prison, sometimes several of them would be confined together. On other occasions they would be alone or with new cellmates. Anderson recalls that only he and Tom Sutherland were confined together throughout.

For reasons he does not know, Anderson was rarely beaten, but other prisoners were, on a regular basis. Sutherland, in particular, was brutally and frequently beaten by the guards, and at one point attempted suicide. Anderson could only listen and observe, helpless to assist the victim. The guards were, however, uniformly anti-American and extremely hostile to all of the hostages, as well as indifferent to their prisoners' discomforts: chains, blindfolds, lack of sanitation, diet, or illness. They repeatedly taunted the hostages with assurances that they would be released shortly, which the hostages soon learned were lies.

As were his fellow hostages, Anderson was subject to periodic depressions which lasted many weeks. Deprived for most of the time of any knowledge of the outside world, given minimal information about his family (he was occasionally allowed to watch their broadcast appeals for his release), and fearful that the ordeal would never end, or would end only by his death, Anderson survived day-to-day.

Over the last year-and-a-half of his captivity, Anderson's fellow hostages were being released one or two at a time; their captors were becoming increasingly aware that, whatever had been exchanged for hostages in the past when negotiations had been clandestine, they were no longer of significant value in trade, at least publicly, to anyone. Anderson was told from the outset that he would be the last to be released, as proved to be the case. He was, as he described it, a "poster child" for his captors — a prominent American journalist, helpless at the hands of the "Islamic jihad" — and they had ascribed a barter value to him far higher than anyone was willing to pay.

At the end, Anderson was confined to a cell with three others, including Sutherland, for about a year. One by one, at intervals of several months, they were released, Anderson last of all. During the final two weeks, Anderson's captors struck off his chains for the first time. The day of his release, he was driven, after dark but still blindfolded, to a roadside rendezvous with a Syrian army team. He removed his blindfold, he recalled, and saw the stars for the first time since his capture. The Syrians drove him to Damascus where he was reunited with his wife and daughter. Altogether, they had been apart 2,454 days — over six years and seven months. After a period of medical treatment ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.