web analytics
January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


US Supreme Court: Torture Victim’s Family Can’t Sue the PA or the PLO

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the decision for a unanimous court, blocking the right of a torture victim's family to sue the PA and the PLO who hired their father's killers.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the decision for a unanimous court, blocking the right of a torture victim's family to sue the PA and the PLO who hired their father's killers.
Photo Credit: Berkeley Unified School District

The relatives of a US citizen who was tortured and killed by Palestinian intelligence officers may not sue the Palestinian Authority or the PLO for damages under the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA).

The Christian Science Monitor reported that the US Supreme Court ruled 9 to 0 on Wednesday that the 1991 anti-torture law authorizes civil lawsuits only against an individual who actually carried out the torture or extrajudicial killing – not against an organization with which the alleged torturer or killer was associated.

Azzam Rahim, a US citizen of Palestinian heritage, died during his interrogation by Palestinian Authority security personnel. Rahim, a Dallas businessman, had been arrested in 1995 by Palestinian Intelligence, while visiting his family village, and was jailed in Jericho. Two days later his body was returned to his family, bruised and marked with cigarette burns and broken bones.

Rahim’s son filed a lawsuit in US federal court against three Palestinian officials, the Palestinian Authority, and the PLO, charging that his father had been tortured to death in violation of the TVPA. A federal court and then a panel of the appeals court dismissed the suit.

The 11-page decision in the case, Mohamad v. Palestinian Authority (11-88), was written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The Court has, apparently, ruled on the letter, rather than on the spirit of the law, which says that “an individual” who subjects someone to torture or extrajudicial killing can be held liable under the TVPA for money damages.

This would be tantamount to suing the driver of the bus that crashed through your bay windows, but not the bus company.

Or, since we’re commemorating Yom HaShoah today, the new decision would direct Holocaust victims to drag their camp commandant to court, but not the German government.

The unanimous decision severely limits the options available to victims under the TVPA, because now it has become clear that recovery of damages will depend on the assets of the torturer or killer, not the outfit that hired him or her to torture or kill.

Justice Sotomayor wrote: “In petitioners’ view, by permitting suit against ‘an individual’ the TVPA contemplates liability against natural persons and nonsovereign organizations. We decline to read ‘individual’ so unnaturally.”

Sotomayor added, “The ordinary meaning of the word, fortified by its statutory context, persuades us that the act authorizes suit against natural persons alone.”

The Court is probably urging Congress to fix the law, with Sotomayor’s conclusion: “The text of the TVPA convinces us that Congress did not extend liability to organizations, sovereign or not… There are no doubt valid arguments for such an extension, but Congress has seen fit to proceed in more modest steps in the act, and it is not the province of this branch to do otherwise.”

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “US Supreme Court: Torture Victim’s Family Can’t Sue the PA or the PLO”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you to every foolish jew who voted for Obama and put this "wise latina / PLO supporter" on the SC.

    NØbama 2Ø12.

  2. Muriel Coudurier-Curveur says:

    To me, it sounds more that Sotomayor is encouraging Congress to fix a poorly worded law than show support to Palestinians. We need to remember that the victim was as Palestinian as the PA terrorists who murdered him.

  3. Folks, the vote was 9-0…

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ISIS murderers threatening Obama
ISIS: We Will Behead Obama, Make US Part of the Caliphate [video]
Latest News Stories
Israeli election workers count remaining ballots from soldiers and absentees at the Knesset in Jerusalem

That’s it. If you didn’t register your party by now, you’re not running for the upcoming Knesset elections.

Explosion in El-Arish, in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, Jan. 29, 2015.

Simultaneous explosions in Egypt killed and wounded dozens Thursday night.

Undecided voters may be the only one who might change the poll results.

National religious voters favoring the new Yachad party headed by Eli Yishai may be wasting their votes.

ISIS murderers threatening Obama

ISIS threatens to behead Obama, turn the U.S. into a Muslim province, and destroy France and Belgium.

Locked in Auschwitz, their cries for assistance were not heard, so they escaped through an open window, setting off an alarm.

Hezbollah is a terrorist group and terrorist party, but most and worst of all, it is a huge and powerful army.

Lieberman’s issues a disproportionate response to polls that show his party will barely squeeze into the Knesset.

Boehner criticized President Obama for failing to take the threat of terrorism and the Iranian nuclear threat seriously.

US Treasury Secy Jack Lew contends that French Jews really want to stay in France. They just want to be safe too.

It is also still not clear whether the main issue of the election will be security or economics.

El-Sisi has embarked on an ambitious plan to destroy Hamas’s tunnel infrastructure underneath the Egyptian-Gaza border.

Israeli food makers are getting nervous about Israeli taste buds being Americanized.

Now the Secret Service needs a device to disable drunken government workers who fly drones at 1600 Pennsylvania.

PM Binyamin Netanyahu warns at a memorial for late PM Ariel Sharon that Iran has already begun its war against Israel.

“Not wanting to stir things up in the north” means “Yes, we could bomb them to kingdom come, but. no, we won’t.”

The US condemns Hezbollah’s attack on “IDF forces” but never mentions civilians or terror. Why not?

More Articles from Yori Yanover
rain ATM

A Jerusalem woman is trying to hold on to her umbrella while withdrawing some cash at a Meah Shearim ATM, Sunday, March 9, 2014. The rain appeared out of the blue (which is how rain should), after a warm week that started to feel like summer. Well, it don’t feel like summer no more. Last […]

Rabbi Meir Mazuz (seen visiting a synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn) declared in a public Internet psak that it is legal for a Jew to go up to temple Mount.

Needless to say, Shas, the Haredi Sefardi party, is not happy.

“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”

Here’s the Israeli Navy boat INS Hanit arriving in Eilat on Saturday, March 8, 2014, after capturing the Klos C, which was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian-supplied weapons made in Syria and intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip. Here’s Israeli Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ram Rotberg speaking with the INS Hanit soldiers in […]

Pat Condell has a new video out, so, sit back, have fun. By the way, Message to Offended Muslims should not be confused with Message to Off Handed Muslims. Also, I’d love to hear what he has to say about Haredim.

The description that came with this picture says: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with American actor Bette Midler during an event at the house of Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan in Hollywood on March 6, 2014. But Bette Midler is not really an actor, she’s a singer who made movies for the LGBT community and […]

We will shut them up in the campuses, we will shut them up in the high schools, we will shut them up at the 92nd St. Y.

An Israeli female soldier (because they’re better at removing babies from their homes) evacuates a baby from a settlement in Judea and Samaria some time in the recent past. I’m thinking, if the baby was angry enough, couldn’t he evacuate in return, right there in her arms? Imagine the same picture, except with a settler […]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-news/us-supreme-court-torture-victims-family-cant-sue-the-pa-or-the-plo/2012/04/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: