An Israeli NGO petitioned Gibraltar’s top court Tuesday to sell an impounded Iranian oil tanker to compensate parents of an Israeli child allegedly killed by the Iran-backed Palestinian terror group Hamas.
Shurat Hadin, which wages legal battles worldwide on behalf of terror victims, won a $178.5 million US court judgement against Iran and Syria in 2017 over the death of an American infant killed in an attack in Jerusalem.
The case was filed in a US court because the baby, her parents and grandparents all hold American citizenship.
The Iranian tanker Grace I, capable of carrying two million barrels of oil, was seized on July 4 by police and customs officers in Gibraltar — a British overseas territory on Spain’s southern tip — with the aid of a detachment of British Royal Marines.
US officials believe the tanker was destined for Syria to deliver oil, in violation of separate EU and US sanctions.
Shurat Hadin founder Nitzana Darshan-Leitner told AFP that the vessel’s sale, if ordered by the Gibraltar Supreme Court, would not raise more than a fraction of the District of Columbia District Court’s award, but it could pave the way for the seizure of other Iranian assets.
Speaking before the petition was filed on Tuesday, she did not know when or even the court would hold a hearing.
“Anything can happen,” she said.
In October 2014, a Palestinian man, Abdelrahman Shaludi, drove a car into two groups of pedestrians in Jerusalem, killing three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun and Keren Yamima Mosquera, 22, of Ecuador, who had come to Israel to convert to Judaism and died of her injuries several days after the attack.
Shaludi, the nephew of a top Hamas commander, then leaped out of the vehicle and attacked passers-by with an iron bar, until police shot him dead.
Hamas hailed the attack in a statement, calling Shaludi one of its “hero-martyrs.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement also praised Shaludi.
In January 2017, the Washington, DC, District Court ruled that Iran and Syria must pay damages to Braun’s family because they have backed Hamas over the years.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, seeking to ease tensions with Iran, said Saturday that the tanker would be released if Tehran guaranteed it was not bound for Syria.