Saturday, March 6, 2010

Israel high court: Sa'adat to stay in solitary confinement

Chicago – Ma’an – Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a motion on Thursday asking for Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Secretary-General Ahmad Sa’adat to be moved from solitary confinement in prison.

The Israeli news website Ynet reported that the judges accepted the prosecution’s claim that Sa’adat, when he is not held in solitary confinement, passes messages to the PFLP’s armed wing.

Sa’adat is serving a 30-year prison sentence for a PFLP gunman's assassination Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001. He has been in solitary confinement since last year. In June he staged a nine-day hunger strike in protest of this treatment.

After being jailed by the Palestinian Authority in connection with the killing, Sa’adat was seized by Israeli commandoes in a raid on a prison in Jericho in 2006.

Sa’adat is now one of several senior prisoners Hamas is demanding released in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who is being held by militants in Gaza. Negotiations toward a proposed prisoner exchange were reportedly deadlocked over Israel’s refusal to free Sa’adat along with Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi and Hamas operative Abdullah Barghouthi.

Two weeks ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "as long as I am prime minister" Sa’adat will not be released.

According to Ynet, Sa’adat's lawyer, Lea Tsemel argued on Thursday that it was unclear why her client is being kept in solitary confinement, and added that if he wanted "to incite" someone, he "long ago could have incited the entire prison population."

She also argued there is no substantial evidence that Sa’adat is sending messages to PFLP operatives outside the prison.

Representing the Israeli state, attorney Hila Gorni cited secret evidence that she said indicated Sa’adat was indeed communicating with the outside world.

"It seems as though the classified information speaks for itself," she was quoted as saying. "We must remember whom we are talking about. This is no junior terrorist."

Israeli High Court Refuses Appeal To Remove Saadat From Solitary Confinement

Friday March 05, 2010 12:07 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
The Israeli High Court rejected, on Thursday, an appeal to remove the detained Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ahmad Saadat, from his solitary confinement and claimed that he still instructs PFLP resistance fighters while in prison.
Ahmad Saadat
Ahmad Saadat
The court approved a claim made by the Israeli Security devices stating that Saadat is still active with the armed wing of the PFLP and still gives instructions to the fighters of Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades.

The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades was named after the former secretary-general of the PFLP who was assassinated by Israel when its air force fired missiles at his Ramallah office on August 27 2001.

The Israeli prosecution said it provided the court with “secret information that proves that Saadat is still directing the resistance fighters”. The so-called secret information was not even presented to the lawyer of Saadat.

Lea Tzemel, the lawyer representing Saadat, stated during the court session on Thursday that it remains unclear why he is still in solitary confinement, and added that should he wish to, he can easily create a revolution in Israel’s detention camps.

Tzemel added that the Israeli Intelligence did not provide any real information to prove that Saadat is still communicating with the resistance.

She stated that the only time Saadat communicated with the resistance was when he was imprisoned at the Jericho Prison monitored by European guards.

But the prosecution claimed that Saadat sent letters to what was described as “terrorists”, therefore he was moved to solitary confinement.

The court said that it is convinced Saadat is sending instructions to the resistance, and that his continued solitary confinement is important to maintain Israel’s security.

Tzemel said that Saadat was initially placed in solitary confinement after the resistance captured the Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, in the Gaza Strip in 2006. She also stated that what is happening now is an act of revenge.

It is worth mentioning that Israel is rejecting the inclusion of Saadat in any prisoner swap deal.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, stated two weeks ago that Saadat will never be released as long as he [Netanyahu] is in his post.

Israel claims that Saadat ordered the assassination of the then-Israeli Tourism Minister, Rehavam Zeevi, who was assassinated by PFLP fighters at a Jerusalem Hotel on October 17, 2001.

In 2002, Saadat was imprisoned at a Palestinian Prison, monitored by American and British observers in Jericho. The Israeli army invaded the Palestinian city on March 14, 2006, and kidnapped Saadat and several other political prisoners.

As instructed by Israel, the guards left the prison compound before the army surrounded it. Israel dubbed its offensive “Operation Bringing Home the Goods.”

It is worth mentioning that the Palestinian Supreme Court considered the imprisonment of Saadat at the Jericho prison as unconstitutional, but the Palestinian Authority kept him imprisoned until Israeli kidnapped him from the prison.

Amnesty International also considered the imprisonment of Saadat as illegal as he never received a fair trial, and that he was never accused of a crime and was never granted a due process.