WEST HARTFORD--On February 25, 1996 two promising young lives abruptly ended after a couple in love boarded the No.18 bus in Jerusalem.
Twenty-five-year-old Matthew Eisenfeld and 22-year-old Sara Duker were on their way to visit the country of Jordan when a bomb ripped through the bus they were on, killing 26 people on board, including the couple.
"In the early years of Matt's life, I was his teacher,” said his father, Dr. Lenny Eisenfeld. “In the latter years he was my teacher."
Twenty years after Matthew’s death, Dr. Eisenfeld continues to seek justice.
"One of the things he taught me was the importance of action,” said Eisenfeld.
It hasn't been an easy road.
Years ago, the Eisenfelds joined forces with Sara Duker’s family, filing a lawsuit against Iran’s government. Eisenfeld said it was their only recourse as U.S. citizens to hold Iran accountable.
They won a $327 million judgement, but never saw that money. While lawyers tried to seek those assets in Italy, which is Iran's lead trade partner in the European Union, the Italian Foreign Ministry intervened to keep friendly business relations with the rogue nation, according to a lawyer involved.
Now, Senator Richard Blumenthal is stepping in, calling on Italy to stop blocking the judgement. Senator Chris Murphy is also on board, as well as Republican Senator Mike Kirk of Illinois.
"An Italian court and government have a moral responsibility to enforce the law, they also have a legal responsibility,” said Blumenthal.
Eisenfeld believes Italy needs to put politics and business aside in this case and recognize the judgement. He
calls it a financial deterrent, a way to discourage Iran from putting another family through the pain his own has suffered.
"There's no question about the merits of this case, innocent people were murdered,” said Dr. Eisenfeld.
The families have now filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights.
Blumenthal believes his resolution will put pressure on Italy to stop its political interference.