US court finds Palestine groups liable for Israel attacks

US court finds Palestine groups liable for Israel attacks

[JURIST] A jury for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website] found the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority [official websites] liable Monday for the terrorist attacks that took place in Israel between 2002-2004 and killed 33 people, including Americans. The jury awarded $218.5 million [verdict, PDF] in damages to the victims’ families, which is automatically tripled [Reuters report] to $655.5 million under the 1992 US Anti-Terrorism Act [28 USC § 1350]. The plaintiffs were composed [NYT report] of 10 families, including eight individuals who were physically injured in the attacks while the others alleged emotional distress and psychological damage. The verdict comes amid rising economic problems [WSJ report] for the Palestinian Authority, since a Israel decided last month to freeze transfers of over $200 million in tax revenue it collects on behalf of the Authority. The Palestinian groups plan to appeal the verdict.

US courts continue to try terrorists that have harmed American citizens. Earlier this month a New York federal court sentenced [JURIST report] Adel Abdel Bary, a member of al Qaeda and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, to 25 years in prison. Last moth the same court sentenced [JURIST report] Egyptian-born Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri [JURIST news archive] to life in prison for supporting terrorism. In September that court held the Arab Bank liable [JURIST report] for terrorist attacks against US citizens, since it had held the finances of Hamas-affiliated organizations. In October UK suspect Haroon Aswat was extradited [JURIST report] to the US for trial on terrorism charges, and the European Court of Human Rights [official website] supported [JURIST report] the extradition.