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Victims of the 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings in East Africa Set to Prevail in Decades-Long Pursuit of Justice, Thank Congress for Bipartisan Leadership

Legislation Approving The Historic Bilateral Agreement Between the U.S. and Sudan Will Achieve Justice For Victims of Terror and Strengthen National Security

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congress is expected to pass bipartisan legislation that finalizes the historic bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Sudan in which the East African nation is held accountable for its role in the deadly 1998 terrorist bombings of two American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. This landmark legislation would mark the conclusion of a decades-long fight for justice by the American families of those injured or killed in the attacks and represent a pivotal shift toward democracy for Sudan under new leadership.

In response, spokespeople, advocates, victims, and families of victims of the 1998 bombings released the following statements:

“Our families thank Senate and House leadership for stepping up at this critical moment to finalize the legislation needed to implement the U.S.-Sudan bilateral agreement. This is a pivotal and transformative moment in global history and U.S. foreign affairs,” said Edith L. Bartley, spokesperson for the families of the Americans killed in the August 7, 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi, Kenya. “Thank you to Senator Coons for spearheading the legislation and for working with Senator Schumer, Senator Graham, and others to forge a bipartisan compromise that achieves a meaningful measure of justice for victims of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in East Africa and strengthens our national security and that of our regional allies, especially Israel. Thank you to Senator Blunt for consistently advocating for a compromise and pressing members on both sides to reach an agreement. We strongly support this deal, and we thank the Administration and career foreign service officers and others at the State Department for brokering a U.S.- Sudan bilateral settlement agreement. Families of Americans who were killed are especially pleased that our settlement funds are being paid by Sudan. Sudan renouncing its past, transforming its government and taking steps toward becoming a democracy and strong ally of the United States makes our world safer. Sudan’s work toward transformation is the biggest tribute to our loved ones who were killed while serving our nation abroad.”

“Today, Congress will take a monumental step forward by passing legislation that, after over two decades, finally brings a measure of justice to victims of the East Africa terrorist attacks on our U.S. Embassies. I am thrilled that this legislation will finally pass and I thank everyone involved who made it happen, especially Senators Coons, Warner, and Kaine,” said Riz Khaliq, a former commercial officer at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi who was injured during the blast. “I was there when the bomb went off that killed my colleagues and injured so many of my brethren. That day will always be seared in my consciousness. It was hell. But today I am so grateful that Sudan will finally be held accountable for its role in the terrorist attacks on our diplomats, intelligence officers, and the foreign service nationals who stood by outsides. I could not be more thankful that this day has finally arrived. Justice was long-overdue, but it was not denied.”

“It has been a long journey towards redemption and accountability. Sudan harbored the Al Qaeda terrorists who executed the bombings of the U.S. Embassies in East Africa in 1998. I am proud that Sudan will finally be held accountable for the brutal act of terrorism that cost so many lives and hurt so many people, myself included,” said Ellen Richard, who was left blind and with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the bombing in Kenya. “Our families have waited a long time for this day, and we could not be more overjoyed. Today is the day that justice is finally done. After 22 years of waiting, hoping, and praying for justice to be served, Congress has finally answered our prayers. I would like to thank Senator Coons and the Members of Congress who made this day possible, and I’d also like to thank the lawyers who pushed and helped us to get this ball across the finish line. My heart is full. Finally, I can turn the page and get on with the rest of my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I believe that justice prevails.”

“It is an emotional day for the Embassy Bombing families. After 22 years, they finally have achieved a measure of justice and accountability for the murderous actions of the al-Bashir regime,” said Matthew D. McGill of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, counsel for American and Tanzanian Embassy Bombing families. “But it is also a poignant reminder of all that was lost on that day. We are deeply grateful for Senator Coons’ leadership and his tireless efforts on behalf of these families, and also the extraordinary commitment and resolve of the Trump Administration that made this legislation a reality.”

“With today’s enactment of the Sudan Claims Resolution Act, a bipartisan Congress has helped the victims of the August 1998 terrorist attacks on our Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania achieve a measure of justice and closure — 22 years after the death and destruction that affected so many lives. As many now know, the attacks on our embassies in East Africa were the precursor for the attacks on our nation’s homeland on September 11, 2001,” said Stuart H. Newberger, a senior partner at the international law firm Crowell & Moring LLP who for 20 years has acted as lead counsel for the Americans killed in the August 1998 attacks on the East Africa embassies.

“The legislation puts into effect a bilateral settlement agreement between the United states and Sudan which brings “legal peace” to the many years of struggle, litigation and diplomacy by the Americans who served our nation on the front lines as diplomats, intelligence officers and security guards — along with the local citizens of Kenya and Tanzania who worked with their American colleagues at the embassies.

Moreover, by implementing the settlement, Congress has done more than settle a long-running legal dispute. It also has sent a clear message to the thousands of Americans serving their nation overseas — many in dangerous and hostile places — that our Government has their backs and will protect them and their families whenever such violence is directed at our country’s diplomatic posts. A message that also will resonate with those local citizens who work at our embassies and consulates.

For over 20 years my law firm has had the honor of advocating for the Americans who were killed in the Nairobi, Kenya attack. Working with their spokesperson Edith Bartley — who lost her father, the Consul general, and her younger brother, a college intern — we have taken the fight from the early criminal prosecutions in New York of the Al Qaeda terrorists arrested for their role in the bombings, to the civil cases in Washington against Sudan for its provision of “safe harbor” of those terrorists, to the international diplomatic channels that produced this historic settlement, and ultimately to the halls of Congress.

Today is a moment to honor all those who perished on that fateful day in August 1998, and those who still carry the wounds suffered. May it serve as a lesson to us all that the wheels of Justice may grind slowly, but in the end they produce a commendable result.”

Contact(s):

Rebecca Carr
Director of PR, Media and Communication
+1 202.508.8835
Email: rcarr@crowell.com