Lawyer may testify that Israel broke promise to terror victims

Shurat Hadin head could be forced to testify that gov't broke vow over terror financing case against Bank of China.

July 16, 2013 00:44
2 minute read.

NITSANA DARSHAN-LEITNER of Israel Law Center 311. (photo credit: Courtesy of Israel Law Center)


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Shurat Hadin head Nitsana Dershan-Leitner could be compelled by a US court to testify that the government broke its promise regarding a terror financing case against the Bank of China.

The Israeli-based civil rights organization combats terrorism through courtroom litigation, aiming to bankrupt terrorist groups by targeting funders.

Darshan-Leitner spoke to The Jerusalem Post about the various scenarios which could occur in the aftermath of recent reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has prevented a key Israeli official from testifying in the Bank of China case.

Darshan-Leitner said that while she has “no intent to harm the State of Israel,” at the same time “you can’t put families through five years of litigation where you made a promise and break it.”

According to Darshan-Leitner, she was given no warning by the government that the witness would not testify.

Rather, the Bank of China told the court that it understood that the witness would not testify, leaving Darshan-Leitner to rush and check-in with government officials who told her that the issue is in dispute and has not been finally decided.

Darshan-Leitner then met with several government officials to try to convince them to let the witness testify.

A Justice Ministry official refused to confirm or deny that the ministry was involved in these meetings.

She said, “Who let the Bank of China off the hook? The prime minister made his reputation as an anti-terror person, now the Bank of China might be let off the hook? The Bank of China is responsible for the death of Jews.”

Darshan-Leitner also emphasized that the government’s promise to let the official testify – who already submitted an affidavit in the case – was made to all 22 families they represent and not just the one family which has been mentioned in recent media reports.

If Israel makes a final decision to prevent the witness from testifying, Darshan-Leitner said it was possible that the victims would start a public campaign to get the government to change its mind.

Also, she could be compelled to testify about her meetings with government officials, including naming names and that the government had broken its promise.

This could happen if Darshan- Leitner tries to use the already filed affidavit because of being unable to comply with the court’s order to have the witness deposed.

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