U.S. court revives lawsuit against Pfizer, AstraZeneca on Iraq "terrorism funding claims"

U.S. court revives lawsuit against Pfizer, AstraZeneca on Iraq "terrorism funding claims"

Shafaq News/ On Tuesday, a U.S. appeals court revived a lawsuit against Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and other companies over their contracts with the Iraqi Ministry of Health and Environment that helped "fund terrorism" that killed Americans during the war.

The plaintiffs said that the "Lebanese Hezbollah sponsored group Jaysh al-Mahdi controlled the Iraqi Ministry of health and that the 21 defendants U.S. and European medical equipment and pharmaceutical companies made corrupt payments to obtain medical-supply contracts."

The five corporate groups - AstraZeneca, G.E. Healthcare USA Holding, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N), Pfizer, and Hoffmann-La Roche Inc- denied these accusations in a joint statement.

"further proceedings will show the companies are not responsible in any way." They said.

It is noteworthy that the lawsuit was brought by family members of victims of attacks in Iraq by the al-Mahdi group. However, a federal trial judge dismissed the case in 2020.

Lawyers for the companies, including Kannon Shanmugam, explained to the court that they provided the Iraqi government "life-saving breast cancer treatments, hemophilia injections, ultrasounds, electrocardiogram machines, and other medical goods" after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq toppled strongman president Saddam Hussein in 2003."

"The ruling against the companies would have a severe chilling effect on the willingness of companies and non-governmental organizations to conduct essential activities, often at the government's request, in troubled regions," Shanmugam said in court in September.

The Jaysh al-Mahdi (JAM) emerged in 2003 as a security guarantor in Sadrist-dominated neighborhoods. The group also defended Sadrist political institutions.

The group became prominent in 2004 when it fought against U.S. forces in Najaf and Sadr City.

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