The US Federal Court ordered North Korea to pay more than $ 2.3 billion in damages to the crew members of the spy ship USS Pueblo and their families for being tortured for 11 months after the 1968 seizure of the unit in the East Sea.
And according to what was reported by the South Korean “Korea Herald” newspaper on Friday, this is the highest compensation a US court ordered to pay North Korea.
The newspaper indicates that this increases the chances of more US measures to seize North Korean assets abroad in order to obtain compensation from the financially devastated state.
In a February 16 ruling, a Washington court said North Korea owed $ 1.15 billion in damages to 49 surviving crew members, 90 family members, and 31 family members of those who were no longer alive due to imprisonment and suffering. .
The court found that many of the ship’s 83 crew members, one of whom was killed by North Koreans when they seized the unit on January 23, 1968, were subjected to psychological and physical assaults. The North Korean Navy seized the US ship after threats from four patrol boats and two MiG-21 fighters 40 km off the coast of North Korea.
The North Korean authorities released the 82-person crew and handed over the remains of the deceased crew to the American side in December 1968 after the United States signed a statement apologizing for violating North Korea’s territorial waters.
In February 2018, the survivors and families of those who have since died filed a class action lawsuit against North Korea. They can do so in the wake of the 2016 US Congressional exception to a law that gives foreign governments broad immunity from lawsuits in US courts.
Under the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, foreign authorities can be prosecuted in US courts if they are recognized as a state sponsor of international terrorism.
Former US President Donald Trump’s administration officially recognized North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism in November 2017, nine years after it was removed from the list in 2008 by then-US President George W. Bush.
North Korea has not formally responded to the lawsuit.
In December 2008, a US court ordered North Korea to pay $ 65 million in damages to four USS Pueblo crew members in a lawsuit they filed.
In December 2018, a US court ruled that North Korea must pay $ 51.1 million to the family of Otto Warmbier, who was released into a coma after imprisonment in North Korea. He passed away a few days after returning home in June 2017.