US Firm Calls for Islamic Law in Lawsuit

Blackwater boss seeks Sharia law to dodge Afghan plane crash suit
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2008 7:51 AM CDT
Helicopters fly over the mountains south of Kabul in this 2004 file photo. 3 US troops and 3 crew members died in a 2004 incident when a Blackwater turboprop crashed in rugged terrain in Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, FILE)
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(Newser) – An American firm blamed for the death of three US soldiers in a plane crash has asked a federal court to apply Islamic law to a lawsuit brought by their widows, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. Presidential Airways, Blackwater's sister company, argues that since its plane crashed in Afghanistan, the case should be heard under Sharia law—which would dismiss the claims.

A lawyer for Erik Prince, owner of both companies, asked the court to consider past cases in which US courts have used foreign law to apply to overseas incidents. The National Transportation Safety Board places the blame for the crash squarely on Prince's company, accusing it of failing to ensure that its crews followed safety regulations. Islamic law does not hold companies responsible for their employees' actions.