The family of a Lafayette Marine killed in a 1983 bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, has received the first payment of a nearly $50 million settlement owed by Iran.
Lex Trahan was 19 in October 1983 when a terrorist drove a truck full of explosives into a barracks full of troops there for a peace-keeping mission during the Lebanese Civil War. The attack killed 307 people; Trahan was among the 241 who were US military. Also killed were French military, civilians and the two bombers.
Trahan was the only child of his parents, Percy "Blackie" and Shirley Trahan. Shirley Trahan died in 2019.
The Trahan family filed suit against Iran, the state which sponsored the terrorist attack, under a law that was created after the September 11 attacks, explains their attorney, Warren Perrin. The family was awarded $50 million, but gets annual disbursements from a fund overseen by the U.S. Treasury, Perrin explains.
This week, the family received the first disbursement of that settlement, he said.
Victims of those killed by state-sponsored terrorism can file suit against the state responsible in this special court, Perrin said. The process is time-consuming, because the state must be served and all documents translated into the official language of the state. Then, a trial is held in a Washington DC court that handles only these cases, he explained.
Any money seized by the United States from countries found guilty of state-sponsored terrorism goes into that fund, to be divided among the victims of that terrorism, Perrin explained.
"All the money is distributed every year to all the claims that have been recognized," Perrin said. "This is the first time we got a disbursement, because we just got the judgment last year."
Trahan's father honors his son every day by flying an American flag on the flag pole put up by Trahan's classmates in his memory, Perrin said.
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