Hekmati v. Islamic Republic of Iran

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA _________________________________________ ) AMIR HEKMATI, ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) Civil Action No. 16-0875 (ESH) ) ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN, ) REDACTED ) Defendant. ) _________________________________________ ) MEMORANDUM OPINION Plaintiff Amir Hekmati, a United States citizen, spent four and one-half years in Evin prison in the Islamic Republic of Iran (“Iran”). He brings this action for compensatory and punitive damages against Iran under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (“FSIA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1602-1611, alleging that Iran’s detention of him and treatment while detained constituted hostage taking and torture. (Compl., May 9, 2016, ECF No. 1.) Iran failed to respond to the complaint, the Clerk entered a default, and plaintiff has now moved for a default judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b)(2). (Mot. for Default Judgment, Feb. 6, 2017, ECF No. 12.) For the reasons set forth herein, the Court will grant the motion for default judgment. BACKGROUND I. FINDINGS OF FACT The evidence in the record before the Court establishes the following facts. Amir Hekmati is a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen who was born in the United States in 1983. (Proposed Findings of Facts and Conclusions of Law in Support of Mot. for Default Judgment (“Mem.”) Ex. A (Decl. of Amir Hekmati (“Hekmati Decl.”)) ¶¶ 1, 3.) His parents, Ali and Behnaz Hekmati, had immigrated to the United States from Iran before he was born. (Id. ¶ 3.) He has three siblings--an older sister, a twin sister, and a younger brother. (Id. ¶ 4.) When he was eight years old, his family moved to Flint, Michigan, and he lived there until he graduated from high school in 2001. (Id. ¶¶ 7-8.) From July 2001 until August 2005, Hekmati served in the United States Marine Corps. (Id. ¶ 9, Ex. A.) While in the Marines, he completed a 63-week course in Arabic at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, graduating with high honors in May 2003. (Id. ¶ 10, Ex. C.) Thereafter, he was deployed to Iraq as an infantry rifleman to support combat operations; he also served as the personal interpreter for the battalion commander. (Id. ¶ 11, Ex. D.) After completing his four-year term of active service, during which he reached the rank of E-5/SGT, he was honorably discharged in August 2005. (Id. ¶¶ 9, 12, Ex. A.) After leaving the military, Hekmati worked as a defense contractor in the areas of language and cultural instruction, with a focus on new language translation technology. (Id. ¶¶ 14-16, 18.) He also went to college online, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in International Business Management in 2009 from the University of Phoenix. (Id. ¶ 17.) In 2009, Hekmati was hired as a research manager for a U.S. defense contractor, which led to his spending a year in Iraq, providing cultural analysis and advice to U.S. military commanders. (Id. ¶ 19.) In May 2011, he started a new job in Afghanistan as an analyst for another U.S. defense contractor. (Id. ...

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