from the Jericho prison
Statement by the General Secretary of the PFLP and his comrades
Two years have passed on the imprisonment of my comrades and myself. Such imprisonment represents a Palestinian Authority submission to the Israeli and American illegitimate demands. It also neglects the Palestinian law and Palestinian national values. It also holds no regard to all Palestinian national bodies including the Palestine National Council (PNC) and the Palestine Central Council (PCC). Such imprisonment also neglects the legitimacy of our resistance to the Israeli Occupation.
The attempt of "Internationalizing" the "Jericho Agreement" between the PA, US, Britain & Israel to detain us, has lead the PA to offer more free concession to the American-Israeli security demands. This agreement did not only represent a great danger to the internal Palestinian affairs, but also represent the worse model for "international monitoring". Such monitoring should be placed to protect the Palestinian people from the daily massacres carried by the Sharon government.
The legal aspects of our imprisonments started with a total exclusion to the frame of law and the same can be said about the "trial" that ruled against our four comrades, which lacked not only the legal justification but also the legal process based on the rule of law.
The "Jericho Agreement" proved later and yet again that it lacked legitimacy, especially after the Palestinian Higher Court of Justice ruled against our imprisonment and considered it to be illegal and demanded our immediate release. However, the PA did not honor the rule of the Court, and disregarded its own constitution which guarantees the independence of the Legislative Authority and the respect for its rules and decisions. Not only that, but the PA has not released Comrade Ahed Abu Ghulma (member of the Central Committee of the PFLP) despite the end of his 1 year sentence!. Another example is not permitting appeals from our comrades against the initial "Trial" ruling, despite the fact that such appeal is a guaranteed and legitimate right according to the Palestinian law.
We would like to reaffirm the following:
1- Our struggle to end this illegitimate imprisonment and to end the shameful "Jericho Agreement" with what it represents in terms of precedence, is driven by the need to protect our people and their rights before anything else.
2- The PA has been attempting to justify its violations to the Palestinian law under the false auspices of "protecting us". We would like to reaffirm that we did not ask for protection from any PA political or security agency. The need for protection must be voluntary and when it is otherwise, it becomes worse than the decision of imprisonment.
3- It is legitimate to say that the continuation of our imprisonment represents the PA commitment to the American Israeli demands and not necessarily for our protection, especially when we are not convinced with the PA justifications. Is it sensible that we remain hostages for the PA political and security commitments? Does this fall in harmony with our national unity, the necessity to respect the rule of Law and the independence of the Palestinian Legislative body? How is it possible to continue our imprisonment without any legal basis?
4- Regardless of stated intentions for the PA, the place of imprisonment (Jericho Prison) is not supervised by the PA, politically or legally, but rather by American and British officers. The continuation of such arrangement means that our destiny is practically in "Israel" hands.
On these bases we call for the end of this situation which harms the Palestinian National cause, politically, legally and nationally.
Finally, we would like to salute our Palestinian people, the national and Islamic forces, and all the Arab and International Solidarity organizations that stood beside us in rejecting the continuation of our imprisonment and demanded its end.
January 15, 2004
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: (Addameer.org)
On 25 April, 2002, four Palestinians were tried in a kangaroo-court by the Palestinian Authority and sentenced to between 1 to 18 years in prison. The four were accused of involvement in the assassination of the Israeli Tourism Minister, Rehavam Ze`evi, on October 17, 2001.
The four were tried in an impromptu Palestinian military court that violated all established principles of international law guaranteeing a fair trial with proper legal representation.
These violations include:
The four defendants were tried in front of a military court despite the fact they are civilians. This is in direct violation of Palestinian law.
The trial was presided over by Brigadier-General Ribhi Arafat who has no legal qualifications and no authority to act as judge.
The detainees were not provided with proper legal defence, rather, a soldier with no legal training was appointed to act in their defence.
The trial took only 2 hours and a written charge sheet was not presented to the defendants or before the court.
The four were found guilty despite the fact there was no written evidence or confessions from them presented to the court.The only material presented before the court were notes written by unidentified people from discussions held with the four defendants while they were imprisoned in Ramallah before the siege. There were no signatures or written verification of the veracity of these notes from the four defendants. These notes were presented as affidavits yet they were not prepared during formal interrogation or by any authorized personnel.
The trial took place in the Presidential Compound in Ramallah while it was surrounded by Israeli tanks and heavily armed soldiers. It was held behind closed doors and was not open to the public.
The four detainees have no right to appeal their sentences.
Following sentencing the four political prisoners were transferred to a Jericho Prison under the control of US and British supervisors. In addition to the four, two other Palestinian detainees, Ahmed Sa`adat and Fuad Shubeiki, were also transferred to Jericho Prison. The latter have not faced trial or been found guilty of any offense yet they remain incarcerated in Jericho.
The trial of the four and imprisonment of the six are a severe violation of international and Palestinian law. They are being kept in draconian conditions under the supervision of the US and Britain. According to press reports, the person in charge of this "supervision" is the former head of the notorious Maze Detention Center in Northern Ireland.
Is this what is meant by "reform" of the Palestinian Authority, "democracy" or "respect for the rule of law"? Apparently this is the case for the US, British, Israeli and Palestinian governments.