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Federal judge orders Libya to pay $6B to US victims of 1989 air bombing

[JURIST] US District Judge Henry Kennedy ruled [PDF text] Tuesday that the Libyan government and six Libyan officials should pay more than $6 billion in damages [plaintiff press release] to families of seven Americans who died in the 1989 bombing of French passenger jet UTA Flight 772 [BBC backgrounder], which killed all 170 people on board. Kennedy ruled last year in Pugh v. Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya [complaint, PDF] that Libya was responsible for the bombing, and a trial to determine damages was held in August. Libya has until February 25 to file an appeal.

The Flight 772 bombing was an alleged retaliation against the French for favoring Chad during a border dispute with Libya. Both the Flight 772 bombing and the 1998 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 [Wikipedia backgrounder] over Lockerbie, Scotland have been linked to Libya. Last year, defense lawyers representing Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi [CNN profile], the only person convicted in the Flight 103 bombing, requested access to evidence [JURIST report] not previously provided to them that they claim could be used to clear al-Megrahi. Specifically, they sought disclosure of a "missing document," which allegedly contains information about the timer used to bomb Pan Am Flight 103. Reuters has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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