A Palestinian Arab-American family has filed a lawsuit against Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Preventive Security Force (PSF) in the Palestinian Authority, alleging that he tortured and murdered the family’s father in 1995.
Rajoub was served with a court summons on his arrival at JFK Airport in New York on Wednesday.
The lawsuit accuses Rajoub of taking part in the torture and murder of Azzam Rahim, an American citizen from Dallas, Texas, on September 29, 1995. Rahim, who had immigrated to Israel in the 1970s, was arrested by the PSF and tortured to death in the organization’s facilities in the Palestinian Authority.
The State Department’s decision to issue him a visa elicited protests from Jewish organizations, who cited his record as a convicted terrorist who should not be allowed into the U.S. because of his violent history and his incitement against Israel and the United States.
He recently warned President Trump not to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel to Yerushalayim, warning that it would constitute a “declaration of war” against the Palestinians.
According to the prosecution, headed by Nitsana Darshan Leitner and Robert Tulchin, as the Preventive Security chief, Rajoub played a central role in the detention, torture and killing of Azzam Rahim, in violation of the Torture Victims Protection Law.
The family’s suit was originally filed 11 years ago, in 2006, but it was not acted upon because Rajoub was not present in the U.S. at the time, and the Torture Act allows for claims against torturers only when individuals are on U.S. soil. Yesterday, the first time Rajoub visited the United States, the family’s lawyers chose to take advantage of the opportunity and deliver the summons to him immediately upon entering the country.