08.06.15

SCHUMER: FEDS SHOULD STAY OUT OF WELL-DESERVED LEGAL DECISION REQUIRING PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY AND PLO TO PAY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO U.S. VICTIMS OF TERRORIST ATTACKS ABROAD

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NY Recently Found the PLO & Palestinian Authority Culpable for a Number of Deadly Terrorist Attacks Between 2001-2004; Federal ‘Antiterrorism Act of 1990’ Allows Victims of International Terrorism to Seek Justice in a U.S. Court of Law

Schumer Urges DOJ & State Dept. Not to Intervene in Lawsuit, Which Orders a Judgement of $655.5M; DOJ is Considering Asking the Court to Protect PLO & PA From Having to Pay Judgement

Schumer: DOJ & State Department Should Refrain From Intervening in this Case and Let Stand This Well-Decided Verdict Which Holds Accountable the PA and PLO for Repugnant Terror Attacks that Harmed American Citizens 

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the State Department to not interfere in a court case where the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to pay $655.5 million in reparations for terrorist attacks involving U.S. citizens.

Mark Sokolow, the lead plaintiff in the case, took his family on a trip to Israel and was injured when a suicide bomber attacked a crowded public area on Jaffa Street. The Sokolow family, from Long Island, is one of a group of victims using the Antiterrorism Act of 1990 to sue the PLO and PA for sponsoring the attack. This legislation allows victims of international terrorism to seek justice in a U.S. court of law.

In February, the New York jury found the PLO and PA culpable for several terrorist attacks between 2001 to 2004 that killed 33 people and injured hundreds; the jury ordered the multi-million judgement. Legal experts expect the PLO and PA will appeal this decision, and the United States is currently weighing whether or not to submit a Statement of Interest in the case. Schumer is urging the feds to refrain from taking any action regarding the civil lawsuit.

“We have the Antiterrorism Act for a reason and that’s to hold accountable dangerous entities for repugnant acts of terrorism. In this case, the judge and jury found the Palestinian Authority and the PLO guilty in an attack that maimed and killed dozens, including our fellow Americans, and they levied a well-founded and justified damage award for the victims. I am urging the U.S. to not intervene in the jury’s decision, which holds the Palestinian Authority accountable for several acts of terrorism that killed 33 and injured hundreds. The Court’s authority should be respected and the victims of these horrific attacks should be allowed to secure some measure of justice for the mindless violence they have already suffered,” said Schumer.  

A copy of Schumer’s letter is below:

Dear Attorney General Lynch and Secretary Kerry,

I write to request that you refrain from taking any action in the case of Sokolow v. Palestinian Liberation Organization in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The Sokolow family are the lead plaintiffs in the case. Mark Sokolow was in the World Trade Center and survived the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Four months later, he and his family -  Rena, Lauren and Jamie – decided to take a trip to Israel. The family, from Long Island, New York, was injured when a suicide bomber attacked a crowded public area on Jaffa Street in Israel.  The Sokolow family is one of a group of victims who are using the Antiterrorism Act of 1990 (Pub. L. No. 101-519) to sue the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) for sponsoring the attack.

As you may know, Congress enacted the Antiterrorism Act of 1990 to allow victims of international terrorism to seek justice in a US court of law. The Act provides these victims the “remedies of traditional American tort law,” so that terrorists and state sponsors of terrorism are held accountable for their terrible crimes. The Sokolows and other families involved in this case have spent over a decade fighting for justice. 

Last February a jury found that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) culpable for terrorism and ordered a judgement of $655.5 million. I am troubled to hear United States Department of Justice is considering asking the Court to protect the PLO and PA from having to pay the judgment. Congress passed the Antiterrorism Act to give American families a remedy and to hold perpetrators of terrorism accountable for their actions. The judge in this case has the power to determine details of the judgement, including when and how it should be paid. The size of the judgement in this case reflects the severity of the crimes and the large numbers of families affected.  I believe that the jury’s decision in this case, and the judge’s subsequent determinations, should be respected and the wheels of justice should be allowed to move forward without interference from the administration.

Again, I respectfully ask that the Department of Justice to respect the judgement and not provide a Statement of Interest in Sokolow v. Palestinian Liberation Organization. Thank you for considering my request.

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