Upon arriving in New York for his first visit to the U.S. this week, senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official Jibril Rajoub was served with a cause of action letter seeking $250 million in damages for his role in the torture and murder of Palestinian-American Azzam Rahim in 1995.
The legal action against Rajoub, who served as head of the Palestinian Preventive Security Force (PSF) at the time of Rahim’s death, was initiated by the victim’s family, who live in Texas.
The letter states Rahim, a U.S. citizen, “was brutally tortured and extra-judicially killed by the Defendant [Rajoub] on September 29, 1995,” when Rahim was in Rajoub’s “custody and/or physical control.”
The victim’s family testified in 1995, Rahim was arrested by PSF officers and taken to a prison in Jericho. Two days later, his body was returned to the family, whose members were informed he died of a heart attack at a Jericho hospital.
Yet when questioned by the family, hospital staffers said Rahim had arrived dead at the medical facility. An autopsy also revealed bruising of the victim’s body, as well as cigarette burns, broken ribs and teeth, and a torn lip.
According to the prosecution, headed by the Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center President Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Rajoub “played a central role in the torture and brutal murder of American citizen Azzam Rahim in 1995,” and the U.S. State Department “recognized Rahim as a victim of torture in the Palestinian Authority.”
In addition to the cause of action letter, Rajoub received a summons to appear in court, but he is unlikely to be interrogated or arrested by U.S. authorities. He is currently the secretary of the Fatah party’s Central Committee and the head of the PA’s soccer association.