Monday, August 15, 2011

Appeals Court Rules Palestinian Authority Can Be Sued Over American Contractor's Death

A three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has ruled that the family of Mark Parsons can sue the 'Palestinian Authority' under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1991 over material support by the PA to a terror group. The decision overturns part of a lower court's summary judgment in favor of the PA.

Mark Parsons was one of three American contractors murdered by a roadside bomb while acting as security to State Department employees en route to Gaza to interview 'Palestinian' Fulbright scholarship applicants back in October, 2003. The Parsons family attempted to make the case that the bombing was done on the direct orders of Yasser Arafat.

"Although we agree with the district court that the family's conspiracy claim theories are too speculative to survive summary judgment, we believe a reasonable juror could conclude that Palestinian Authority employees provided material support to the bomber," reads the ruling.

The bomb that killed the trio of security operatives was planted in a hole dug about thirty yards away from a manned PA security checkpoint. The 'Palestinian Authority' detained six of its own operatives,all of whom Yasser Aradat subsequently ordered released. The six included Amer Qarmout, a leader of the Popular Resistance Committee who admitted that he dug the hole in that spot to place the bomb and asked the PA guards at the checkpoint to ignore the digging, which he said they did. However, Qarmout never admitted to actually planting the bomb himself.Or at least that's what the PA said when they released him.

A US attempt to mount an investigation after the bombing failed because the Palestinians got to the explosion site and started tampering with the scene. According to documents released by the FBI, its investigators had their cars stoned.

The lower court threw out the Parsons family claims under the Anti-Terrorism Act because it said the family couldn't link the PA to a specific bomber.The appeals court ruled that enough evidence existed to make a case to a jury that the PA was connected , including forensic reports that showed the bomb that killed Parsons was made of the same material Qarmont used for bomb-making.

"Sorting out these contradictions, deciding how much weight to give evidence that supports or undermines the family's case and evaluating how much credibility to assign Qarmout's incriminating versus exculpatory statements are prototypical jury functions that courts may not commandeer," the court ruled.

"In sum, we conclude that a reasonable juror could find on the basis of the family's evidence that Qarmout planted the bomb that killed Parsons and that Palestinian Security forces at the nearby security checkpoint complied with Qarmout's request not to interfere with his effort to plant a bomb," the ruling reads. "Because such acts qualify as providing material support ... we reverse the district court's grant of summary judgment to the Palestinian Authority on the family's material support claim."

(hat tip, Daled Amos)

please helps me write more gooder!

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