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Ahmed Saadat refuses to recognise Israeli military court

19. December 2006

Leader of Palestinian left under cruel prison regime

Ahmed Saadat refuses to recognise Israeli military court
Leader of Palestinian left under cruel prison regime

In last summer two hearings of a Israeli military court took place at the Ofer prison facility in the West Bank to try the secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ahmed Saadat, the biggest left wing faction.

Saadat refused to participate in the proceedings and to recognise the legitimacy of the tribunal as part of the Zionist occupation. The next hearing was announced for Mid January 2007.

Observers of the hearings reported that Saadat was brought to the court at early morning and had to wait in a metal container for hours. One could see the signs of the shackles on his arms. In both hearings he was almost beaten by the soldiers who tried to prevent him from speaking with the press. In one of the hearings they dragged the Al Jazeera journalist out of the room. The Ofer camp is known for cruel treatment and torture.

The background

The former secretary general of the PFLP, Abu Ali Mustafa, was murdered by Israel in 2001. Abu Ali Mustafa had been the highest ranking Palestinian official fallen victim to the Israeli “extra judicial killing” so far. (Only recently the Israeli high court ruled that such murders do not violate the law.) Shortly after the assassination a commando of the PFLP killed the Israeli tourism minister Rechawam Zeevi of the ultra-Zionist Moledet party in retaliation. The party is known to promote the “transfer” of the Palestinians that means their complete forced expulsion from Palestine.

In 2002 Arafat ordered the arrest of Abu Ali Mustafa’s successor, Ahmed Sadat, under Israeli pressure. While in custody in Arafat’s Moqata the Israeli army laid siege to the president’s building. As part of the agreement to end the siege Saadat was transferred to Jericho in a Palestinian prison under the surveillance of U.S. and British soldiers.

The Palestinian constitutional court, however, ruled that Saadat’s imprisonment was illegal.

On March 14, 2006, the Israeli army besieged and stormed the Jericho detention centre kidnapping Saadat.

Israel announced that they would try Saadat for the murder of Zeevi. Despite the notorious interrogation techniques of Shabak intelligence service the attorney general Menachem Mazuz had to admit after a while that there was no evidence for an indictment in front of a criminal court for the killing of Zeevi. So Saadat’s case was transferred to a military court where he is indicted for 19 offences all revolving around his membership in the PFLP: membership in a forbidden organization, holding a post in a forbidden organization, incitement for a speech delivered after the murder of the Abu Ali Mustafa and conspiracy to kill for having encouraged people to use Molotovcocktails.

We call upon all democratic people to mobilise for the liberation of Ahmed Saadat whose only crime is to struggle against the occupation, a right to which he is entitled also according to international law. The next occasion will be the next hearing in January 2007.

Free Ahmed Saadat!

Anti-imperialist Camp
December 2007