SW Legal studies in Business

Aiding and Abetting Terrorist Groups Is Basis for Civil Liability for Injuries Inflicted
Description Appeals court held that a suit for civil liability against two foundations in the U.S. that raised money to support a terrorist organization in Palestine that sponsors murders of U.S. citizens and other civilians in Israel, may proceed. If it is shown at trial that the foundations knew of the terrorist activities, which killed a U.S. citizen, then there may be liability.
Topic International Law
Key Words Terrorism; Aiding and Abetting; First Amendment; Standing
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts David Boim, a U.S. citizen, was studying in Israel when he was murdered while waiting at a bus stop. The murderers were identified by the Israeli and Palestinian authorities as members of Hamas, an organization that seeks to destroy Israel and form a fundamentalist Palestinian state. Hamas seeks to advance its objectives by the use of violent attacks on civilians. It was designated a terrorist organization by President Clinton under a federal law that allows certain actions to be taken, such as freezing assets. Boim's parents sued the Quranic Literacy Institute (QLI) and the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) for raising funds in the U.S., under the guise of charity, to provide support for Hamas. The Boims assert that QLI and HLF are civilly liable for David's murder. The organizations moved for dismissal; the district court refused to dismiss the suit; the organizations appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. If one gives money to a group that sponsors terrorism, but the donor does not know of the intended criminal use of the funds, then the act of giving is not international terrorism under federal law. However, those who aid and abet international terrorism are subject to civil liability for those injured by terrorism. It will be determined at trial if the operators of QLI and HLF knew funds were going to Hamas. The First Amendment does not provide protection against civil liability for direct funding of terrorist activities. Hence, the Boims have a cause of action that may proceed.

Citation Boim v. Quranic Literacy Institute, 291 F.3d 1000 (7th Cir., 2002)

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