Judge Asks Israel for Help in Terror Case
WASHINGTON (CN) - A U.S. magistrate judge sent an official letter to the State of Israel seeking judicial assistance in a terrorism lawsuit involving the PLO and the Palestinian Authority.
The family of Esther Klieman sued the PLO and Palestinian Authority in District of Columbia Federal Court. They claim Klieman was machine-gunned to death by a group affiliated with the defendants on March 24, 2002 near Neve Tzuf, Israel.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola sent the letter to the Directorate of Courts in Jerusalem, asking Israel to help counsel for Klieman's family, and for her alleged killers, by deposing the Israeli police officers who investigated the case.
The letter also asked that Israel release all documents relating to the shooting of Klieman, and any police interrogations of Tamer Rimawi, who admitted being involved in the murder.
Facciola also asked for any records documenting the use of physical coercion while interrogating Rimawi.
"As such, the evidence obtained will aid in the prosecution of this case because it may assist plaintiffs in proving circumstances of Esther Klieman's murder on March 24, 2002 near Neve Tzuf, Israel and the support allegedly provided by the PA/PLO and its affiliated parties for and to Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades," the letter states.
The letter was sent under taking of evidence abroad guidelines established by the 1970 Hague Convention.
Klieman was ambushed and killed while traveling to her job as a special-needs kindergarten teacher. Rimawi was convicted after allegedly telling police that he committed the murder as a member of a terrorist group called Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Rimawi later changed his tune, claiming he wasn't a member of the group.
Klieman's family in June sought to depose the Israeli police officer who interrogated Rimawi, an alleged Al-Aqsa recruiter and the former head of the Palestinian Security Services.
Facciola's letter to Israel comes after he denied the PLO's argument that Al-Aqsa is not a real entity. In that ruling, Facciola granted the family its motion to depose the Israeli parties, with the help of the state.