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Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Judge Awards $156M to Terror Victim's Parents from Islamic "Charity"

CHICAGO - Three Islamic charities and an alleged fund-raiser for the Palestinian militant group Hamas were ordered Wednesday to pay $156 million to the parents of an American teenager killed by terrorists outside Jersusalem.

A federal jury deliberated for one day before awarding $52 million in damages to the parents of David Boim, shot down at a bus stop eight years ago. U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys then tripled the damages.

But it is uncertain whether the family can collect much money from the defendants, some of whom have had their assets frozen by the government.

Joyce and Stanley Boim, parents of the slain teenager, showed no emotion as the jurors announced the verdict. Their attorneys smiled broadly.

Before the trial started, the judge had found the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, the Islamic Association for Palestine and alleged Hamas fund-raiser Mohammed Salah liable in Boim's death.

The jury found that the Quranic Literacy Institute of suburban Oak Lawn, a group that translates Islamic religious texts, was also responsible for the shooting.

The Boims, Americans who moved to Israel in 1985, sued under a U.S. law that allows victims of terrorism abroad to collect damages in American courts from organizations that furnish money to terrorist groups.

The weeklong trial focused on the Quranic Literacy Institute and its relationship with Salah, who claimed to be an employee and served five years in prison in the Mideast in the 1990s after pleading guilty to funneling money to Hamas.

The institute's attorney, John Beal, refused to take any active part in the trial. He said the judge didn't provide enough time to prepare a defense.

Beal repeatedly insisted there was an innocent explanation for each of the allegations.

But he didn't bother to present them to the judge and jury. -EoZ