Syria to pay $338 million for kidnapping following Israeli law center’s efforts

Click photo to download. Caption: Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Tel Aviv-based Shurat HaDin Law Center. Credit: Mike Cohen.( While rebels and the regime of President Bashar al-Assad continue to wage war overseas, the Syrian government lost a different kind of battle on American soil Monday—to an Israeli attorney. 

Syria will pay $338 million to two American families for its funding of a 1991 kidnapping of American biblical archeologists during an excavation in Turkey for the remains of Noah’s Ark, the Israeli law center that helped win the judgment announced in a press release.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Tel Aviv-based Shurat HaDin Law Center, represented the families along with New York attorney Robert Tolchin. Syria was found vicariously liable for the kidnapping, which was perpetrated by the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) terrorist organization.

The ruling by Royce Lamberth, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, “points to an underlying fact” that “the free world will no longer stand idle while international crimes are committed and it will fight against those rogue regimes which support these heinous acts,” Darshan-Leitner said in a statement. 

“Above all, the court found that this kidnapping was brutal and heinous, and involved threats of execution, torture, as well as marches through mountains and dense forests,” she said. “It is therefore fitting that compensation should be in the millions not in the tens of thousands. These days Syria continues to commit crimes against those who oppose the regime, and Syria will pay.”

Posted on December 18, 2012 .