U.S. Court 'Fines' N.Korea

      July 21, 2010 08:41

      A federal U.S. court has fined North Korea $300 million in punitive damages for supporting terror attacks in Israel in 1972, the Washington Times reported Monday.

      The U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico found the North guilty of helping the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Japanese Red Army plan attacks on Lod Airport, now Ben-Gurion International Airport, in Tel Aviv.

      In a hearing in absentia last Friday, the court ruled for the families of victims in a civil suit. "North Korea's demonstrated and well-known policy to encourage, support and direct a campaign of murder against civilians amply justifies the imposition of punitive damages against it," judge Francisco Besosa said in his ruling. He added the court adopted the "typical punitive damages award of $300 million."

      On May 30, 1972, three Red Army members fired and threw a hand grenade at a group of Puerto Ricans on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, killing 26 people and wounding more than 80 others.

      This is not the first time the North has been sued for damages over attacks in Israel. One suit in 2006 accused the North of helping the Palestinian Shiite group Hezbollah dig tunnels in occupied Palestine to supply them with weapons used in attacks on Israel.

      It is unlikely that the North will pay up, and it has no sizeable assets in the U.S. that could be seized.

      North Korea was put on a U.S. blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism in January 1988 in the wake of its bombing of a Korean Air passenger airplane but struck off in 2008. Some lawmakers want it put back on.

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