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A new legal outrage
Witch-hunt of Islamic charities

By Nicole Colson | December 17, 2004 | Page 12

THE HYPOCRISY of the U.S. legal system knows no bounds.

Last week, a federal magistrate ordered three Islamic charities and a man accused of raising money for the militant Palestinian group Hamas to pay $156 million in damages to the parents of David Boim, a U.S. teenager killed in the Israeli-occupied West Bank in 1996. Arlander Keys, the judge in the case, made headlines when he tripled the already outrageously high damages awarded by a federal jury.

Boim's parents, who moved from the U.S. to Israel in 1985, filed their lawsuit under the Antiterrorism Act of 1990--a never-before-used law that allows any American who is a victim of terrorism abroad to sue for damages in U.S. courts.

Last month, Keys ruled that the Islamic Association for Palestine and the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, along with Mohammed Salah, were liable for David Boim's death--because they supposedly gave "material support" to Hamas in the form of fundraising. In early December, a jury added the Quranic Literacy Institute to the list of those responsible.

But the trial was a sham from start to finish. The Quranic Literary Institute's lawyer wasn't given enough time to prepare a defense. He protested by not participating in jury selection, cross-examining witnesses, offering evidence or giving a closing argument. Lawyers for the other defendants also boycotted the trial--citing the impossibility of receiving a fair verdict.

The three groups have already had their assets seized by the federal government and are under indictment on charges of supporting "terrorists."

The Boims' lawyers claim that this latest award will set a precedent for shutting down "the domestic enablers of terrorism."

But if that was true, then the parents of Rachel Corrie--the International Solidarity Movement activist who was murdered in 2003 when an Israeli bulldozer crushed her as she tried to prevent a Palestinian home from being demolished--should be allowed to sue the U.S. government for funding Israel's apartheid to the tune of more than $4 billion a year.

And where is the justice for the innocent Palestinians killed in Israel's war? Like Iman al-Hams--a 13-year-old girl shot to death by Israeli soldiers in Gaza in October. A taped conversation of her killing has an Israeli commander telling his men--after firing at Iman with an automatic weapon--that "[a]nyone who's mobile, moving in the zone, even if it's a 3-year-old, needs to be killed."

If the U.S. government really wanted to stop the "domestic enablers of terrorism," then allowing Palestinians to sue George W. Bush and Congress is the place to start.

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