For Immediate Release: January 9, 2017

Tel Aviv, ISRAEL: Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center


The families of two victims of Islamic State (“ISIS”) terror attacks in Paris and Brussels filed today a groundbreaking antiterrorism lawsuit against the social media company TWITTER, INC. (“Twitter”), for its role in aiding and abetting the terrorist organization that carried out mass-casualty attacks in Paris and Brussels, killing nearly 200 people and injuring hundreds more.

According to their attorney, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center: “This is the first lawsuit to document Twitter’s key role in the rise of ISIS to become the most feared terrorist organization in the world, and to detail how ISIS used Twitter specifically in connection with two of the worst terror attacks in Europe’s recent history. Among social media platforms, Twitter has most brazenly refused to cut off its services to terrorists, taking the position that ‘the tweets must flow’ even if it means assisting in mass murders.”

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, seeks compensation and punitive damages related to the deaths of victims of terrorist attacks carried out by ISIS, known as one of the most brutal terrorist organizations in the world.

The victims in the lawsuit are:

  • Alexander (“Alex”) Pinczowski (29) and his sister Sascha Pinczowski (26), who were killed by an ISIS suicide bomber in Brussels, Belgium on March, 22, 2016.
  • Nohemi Gonzalez (“Nohemi”) (26), who was killed in an ISIS terrorist shooting attack in Paris, France on November 13, 2015.

The lawsuit is titled Cain v. Twitter, Inc., and is brought by Anne Cameron Cain, the wife of Alex Pinczowski and sister-in-law of Sascha Pinczowski, and by Beatriz Gonzalez, the mother of Nohemi Gonzalez, and other immediate family members. The lawsuit details many unique ways in which ISIS has made special use of Twitter services as a weapon of terror, including through bots, special apps, and “hashtag highjacking” to inflate its image, recruit members, and grow into the most feared terrorist organization in the world.

The lawsuit also shows how ISIS used Twitter specifically in connection with the Paris and Brussels attacks—before, during, and after these attacks—for recruitment, indoctrination, intimidation, and more. Twitter was used by key perpetrators of these attacks, including the operational leader of the Paris attack, and the ISIS “engineer” who built the bombs for both attacks and exploded a suicide bomb in the Brussels attack.

Darshan-Leitner added: “This lawsuit reveals direct connections between Twitter and terror, and when justice is done in this case, it will force Twitter and others to conclude that supporting terror does not pay.”

Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center is a Tel Aviv-based civil rights organization and world leader in combating the terrorist organizations and the regimes that support them through lawsuits litigated in courtrooms around the world. Fighting for the rights of hundreds of terror victims, Shurat HaDin seeks to bankrupt the terror groups and grind their criminal activities to a halt – one lawsuit at a time.

Shurat HaDin has succeeded in winning more than $1 billion in judgments, freezing more than $600 million in terrorist assets and in collecting $200 million in actual payments to the victims and their families. In 2015 Shurat HaDin won a $655 million judgment against the Palestinian Liberation Organization (“PLO”) and the Palestinian Authority (“PA”) for their roles in directing terror attacks against civilians. This issue of jurisdiction in the PLO/PA case is still being litigated on appeal.