$21M awarded in torture suit against ex-Somali PM
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A U.S. judge has awarded $21 million to seven people who had sued a former prime minister of Somalia now living in Virginia, claiming he had tortured and killed his own people.
The judgment against Mohamed Ali Samantar of Fairfax comes at the end of an eight-year legal battle that went to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Seven Somali natives filed the lawsuit in federal court in Alexandria against Samantar, who was prime minister and a top general in the regime of dictator Siad Barre.
The suit claimed that Samantar personally ordered the killings and torture of members of a minority clan in Somalia.
Samantar denied the accusations and claimed immunity from the lawsuit. On the day the trial was to begin, he entered a default judgment.
He is currently in bankruptcy.