High-ranking Palestine Liberation Organization member Jibril Rajoub was served Wednesday with a court summons and notice of a civil lawsuit for $250 million by the family of Azzam Rahim, a Palestinian Authority man with U.S. citizenship who was allegedly tortured and murdered in 1995 by Ramallah government forces.
The lawsuit was first filed in federal court 11 years ago, but because Rajoub — the defendant — was not physically present in the United States at the time, the case was withdrawn.
Rajoub, a senior member of the PLO’s leading Fatah faction, heads the Olympic committee of the Palestinian Authority and works hard to encourage a worldwide boycott of Israel in the sports world. He was served with the papers upon his arrival at JFK International Airport in New York City, according to Ynet.
Rahim, a husband and father of six, was taken into custody by Palestinian Authority security forces, headed at the time by Rajoub, on September 29, 1995, according to the court papers. Rahim’s family filed the lawsuit in their home state of Texas this past Tuesday, alleging that Rajoub played a major role in the arrest, torture and death of their loved one, who was visiting his hometown of Ein Yabrud (near Ramallah) when plainclothes PA security forces detained him while he was at a local coffee house playing backgammon. Rahim was transported to a jail in Jericho.
Two days later, his dead body was returned to his family, with the claim that he suffered a heart attack in a Jericho hospital — a claim denied by the hospital, who told the family Rahim was already dead by the time he’d arrived.
The autopsy report described broken teeth, cut lips, injuries to Rahim’s head and face, with cigarette burns all over his body and broken ribs — in short, the clear signs of torture. But no damage to his heart, betraying the PA government lie for what it was.
The family assumed Rahim had been abducted and held for ransom, his captors believing him to be a “rich American.” They believe he refused to comply with his captors’ demands, and thus sealed his fate.