A Vancouver dentist injured in a 1997 Hamas suicide bombing has filed a lawsuit against Iran — the first such case to be launched under a new Canadian law that allows victims to collect damages from state sponsors of terrorism.
Dr. Sherri Wise, 43, filed the notice of claim in British Columbia Supreme Court on Friday. It names the Islamic Republic of Iran and the powerful ministry of security as defendants. It does not seek a specific dollar amount in damages.
Dr. Wise was volunteering at a Jerusalem dental clinic for underprivileged kids when she was badly wounded when three bombs packed with nails and glass exploded. She is suing Iran because it has long armed, financed and trained Hamas to conduct terror attacks.
The suit comes more than a year after the federal government enacted the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, which paved the way for such cases by lifting state immunity from countries that sponsor terrorism. Iran was designated a state sponsor last September, along with Syria.
“This is the first case to be filed in Canada under the new anti-terrorism legislation,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, one of the lawyers who has been helping Ms. Wise prepare her case. She is director of the Israel Law Center, which pioneered the use of civil courts to fight terrorism.
While the family of an American killed in the same Sept. 4, 1997 attack on Jerusalem’s busy Ben Yahuda Street pedestrian mall has already won a large judgment against Iran in U.S. courts, Dr. Wise had to wait until Canada changed its laws before she could sue, she said.
“We are very hopeful that we can win the same measure of justice and opportunity for compensation for Sherri in Canada,” she said. “It is crucial to sue the terror groups, their state sponsors and the banks that provide them financial services. Civil litigation is a powerful weapon in deterring the terrorists and their criminal patrons.”
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