Tap Gaddafi funds for terror victims

2011-09-29 22:35

Washington - Two US senators urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday to use some of Muammar Gaddafi's frozen assets to compensate American victims of terrorist attacks he sponsored during his four-decade rule of Libya.

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and Republican Senator Johnny Isakson said in a letter to Clinton that Libyan money in an existing special fund to compensate the victims would run short.

"We are sure you will agree that the ill-gotten gains of the Gaddafi regime should be used to ensure that American victims of Libyan terrorism, who have waited decades for justice, receive full restitution," they wrote.

The lawmakers pointed to some $32bn in Libyan assets frozen earlier this year as Washington ramped up its support for rebels against Gaddafi's rule.

"A small portion of these frozen assets should be set aside to cover any potential shortfall in the compensation fund for American victims of Libyan state sponsored terrorism," they said.

Schumer and Isakson cited the 1988 Lockberbie bombing, in which 189 Americans were killed, the Lod Airport bombing of 1972, in which eight Americans dead, and the Rome airport attack of 1985, which left 4 Americans dead.

The senators urged Clinton to notify them if she believed the US state department lacked the legal authority to tap the frozen funds and suggested the congress could seek to remedy any such problem with new legislation.

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