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Judge clears way for wounded soldier to collect judgment against terrorist

Published June 14, 2007 12:06 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Posted: 12:01 PM- A federal judge has cleared the way for a wounded Utah soldier and the family of an Army medic killed during a firefight in Afghanistan to collect damages from an al-Qaida terrorist.

But it remains unclear if the federal government will help the victims collect on the $102 million judgment.

In a ruling released Thursday, U.S. District Judge Paul Cassell said the victims had obtained a valid judgment "against a terrorist party," which is subject to the U.S. Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. The act provides a system in which victims may be compensated for losses that result from acts of terrorism.

Sgt. Layne Morris, 45, who lost his right eye in the 2002 gun battle, and the family of Sgt. Christopher Speer won the judgement against the estate of Ahmad Said al-Khadr, whom officials say was a financier to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida.

Attorneys for Morris and Speer's widow, Tabitha, had argued that Khadr had trained his young son Omar to kill Americans. The boy, then 15, is accused of killing Speer and wounding Morris, and is being held at Guantanamo Bay.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has frozen the elder Khadr's assets but has not released information on the accounts. A spokeswoman for the department said it is up to the victims' attorneys to gather the information on their own.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs have asked Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to intervene and Hatch said he is "very interested" in the case.




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