Palestinians contest U.S. terror verdict

Sept. 8, 2008 at 5:12 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- A U.S. judge says he will allow the Palestinian Authority to contest a $192.7 million civil verdict levied against it from a 2002 terrorism incident.

U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero has agreed to set aside the award to the family of Aharon Ellis, a U.S. citizen slain in Israel, and is allowing attorneys for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to ask for a re-trial, provided the authority can come up with a $192.7 million bond, The New York Times reported Monday.

Ellis and five other people were shot to death when a Palestinian gunman burst into a bat mitzvah in northern Israel, wounding more than 30 others. Ellis' family brought a civil suit under a law that allows U.S. victims of international terrorism to sue for triple damages in federal court, the Times said.

The Palestinian Authority originally refused to defend itself in the case, but now, with its relations with Israel and the United States improving, it is asking for a retrial. But it's also pleading poverty and asking a reduction in the bond.

The Ellis family's attorney opposes that request, telling the Times the Palestinians have enough to cover the bond hidden away in private accounts.

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