Oklahomans get awards from unfrozen Iraqi assets

Wednesday, April 9th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A federal judge has released the money awarded to two Oklahomans and other Americans who were once held hostage in Iraq.

A law passed by Congress last year allowed Robin Beaty and other Americans to receive money from frozen Iraqi assets.

Beaty's husband Kenneth, who died last year at age 54, was held in Iraq for 205 days in 1993.

McAlester resident Bill Rodebush, who was taken hostage by Iraqis when they invaded Kuwait in 1990, received his judgment from a separate lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

The money was released by U.S. District Judge John Sprizzo in New York.

Robin Beaty declined to comment Monday about the case. Rodebush could not be reached for comment.

Kenneth Beaty was working for an oil company in Kuwait when he accidentally crossed into Iraq while checking oil wells. He was sentenced to eight years in prison for illegally entering Iraq.

Robin Beaty moved from Kuwait to Mustang and contacted government officials and private organizations to secure her husband's release.

In 1996, Congress passed anti-terrorism legislation that gave Americans the right to sue other countries in U.S. courts alleging state-sponsored terrorism.

The Beatys joined a lawsuit filed by three Americans who had been held hostage in Iraq. The spouses of all the men also were parties in the suit.

The judge ruled for the former hostages and in 2001 awarded $13 million to the men and $6 million to the spouses.

Rodebush, who worked for an international oil company, joined a case that had 180 plaintiffs who were awarded a total of $93 million.

The judge awarded Rodebush $900,000, according to court documents.