[JURIST] Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami [BBC profile] has been served with a summons for a lawsuit by a group of Jewish Iranians while on a two-week visit to the United States [VOA report]. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court in New York by seven families, located in Los Angeles and Israel, who claim that the Iranian government kidnapped and tortured other now-missing family members between 1994 and 1997 while they were trying to flee Iran [JURIST news archive] for Pakistan. The suit, which names 12 missing Iranians, requires Khatami to respond within 20 days.
The plaintiffs are allowed to sue using the Alien Tort Claims Act [text] which grants US district courts original jurisdiction of "any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States" and the Torture Victims Protection Act of 1991 [text] which establishes a civil action "for recovery of damages from an individual who engages in torture or extrajudicial killing." AP has more.