A senior member of the Palestinian Authority was served with a $250 million civil lawsuit on Wednesday, upon his arrival at a New York airport, over his alleged involvement in the torture and killing of a Palestinian-American man.
Jibril Rajoub, who is a senior Fatah member and heads the PA Olympic committee, was handed the writ for $250 million and a court summons as he descended from the plane at JFK airport, Ynet news reported.
The suit accuses Rajoub of involvement in the alleged torture and killing of Azzam Rahim by the Palestinian Authority security forces in 1995.
The suit was filed by Rahim’s family on Tuesday in their home state of Texas against Rajoub, who at the time of the alleged killing served as head of Palestinian security in the West Bank. According to the writ, Rahim was detained by the PA on September 29, 1995, and tortured to death.
The claimants accused Rajoub of playing a major role in the arrest, torture and death of their relative. The family testified that Rahim was visiting his home town of Ein Yabrud, near Ramallah, over 20 years ago, when plainclothes security forces detained him while he was playing backgammon in a local coffee house and took him to prison in Jericho. Two days later an ambulance delivered his dead body back to the town.
The ambulance driver allegedly told the family that Rahim died of a heart attack in the Jericho hospital. However the hospital told the family that Rahim was already dead when he arrived there.
An autopsy revealed injuries to Rahim’s head and face, broken teeth and cut lips, and cigarette burns all over his body. He also had broken ribs, but no heart damage.
The family claimed that Rahim was taken for ransom on the assumption that he was a rich American, and that when he refused to pay he was tortured to death.
Rahim left behind a wife and six children.
Rajoub is not likely to be detained or questioned by US authorities, according to the Ynet report, which added that the lawsuit was first filed 11 years ago but had been erased since Rajoub was not physically present in the US at the time.