Friday, 26 December 2008

Israel sentences PFLP leader to 30 years

Ahmed Saadat the leader of Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine

An Israeli court has sentenced the leader of the leftist Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to 30 years in prison.

On Thursday, Ahmed Sa'adat the leader of Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine was sentenced to 30 years in prison, for allegedly leading an "illegal terrorist organization" according to an Israeli military source.

Sa'adat released a message on Thursday before his sentencing asserting that he did not recognize the authority of the Israeli military courts.

“I don't stand to defend myself before your court, as I emphasized before. I don't recognize this court, which is an extension of occupation which international law considers illegal. Our people have the right to resist occupation, and this court is based on the British emergency law of 1945 which is worse than Nazi laws,” Sa'adat's message read.

The PFLP also slammed the verdict as political.

"When the Israelis arrested him, they accused him of having killed (Rehavam) Zeevi , but this accusation did not appear in the sentencing which proves that his arrest was political and was not related to security issues," PFLP member Khalida Jarar told AFP.

Sa'adat and the four other PFLP members, convicted of Zeevi's killing were seized during a controversial raid on Jericho prison in the West Bank in March 2006 when Israeli troops stormed the jail shortly after British guards left their posts.

The PFLP claimed the killing of Zeevi after its leader Abu Ali Mustafa was assassinated by Israeli troops in Ramallah on August 27, 2001.

Saadat was a popular leader in the first Palestinian uprising in 1987 and he was electied as PFLP leader in October 2001.

Saadat gained a reputation as a man of the people who was much more charismatic than his PFLP predecessor, Abu Ali Mustafa.

Rehavam Zeevi was an ultra rightwinger and supported the ideology of "transfer," which would see all Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip expelled to neighbouring Arab countries.

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