Iran was ordered to pay $180 million for imprisoning an American journalist for 18 months amid talks over the the nuclear deal that President Trump withdrew from last year, according to a report Friday.
Washington, DC, federal Judge Richard Leon awarded the family of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian $150 million in punitive damages, the paper said.
Rezain, 43, was also awarded $23.8 million in compensatory damages for pain and suffering and economic losses, and his mother, Mary, and brother, Ali, were awarded $3.1 million and $2.7 million, respectively.
“Holding a man hostage and torturing him to gain leverage in negotiations with the United States is outrageous, deserving of punishment, and surely in need of deterrence,” Leon wrote in his 30-page ruling.
The damages were awarded in a default judgment against Iran, which never responded to the suit, and followed several days of hearings at which Rezaian and his relatives testified in January.
Rezaian was a Tehran-based correspondent for the Post when he and his newlywed wife, fellow journalist Yeganeh Salehi, were arrested on July 22, 2014.
Salehi, who wasn’t part of the suit, was released two months later, but Rezaian was held until Jan. 16, 2016, when he was freed with three other Americans in a prisoner swap on the day the multinational Iran nuclear deal took effect.
Trump railed against the pact during his successful bid for the White House and last year announced that he was pulling out, saying, “The fact is this was a horrible, one-sided deal that should never, never have been made.”
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