…this is the sentence for ahmad sa’adat. this is what the zionist regime does: it spends its christmas holiday (mind you it is not their holiday) sentencing a freedom fighter to 30 years in an israeli jail:
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine strongly denounced the appalling lengthy sentence meted out to General Secretary of the PFLP, Comrade Leader Ahmad Sa’adat, on December 25, 2008, by the occupation military court at Ofer prison. The occupation court, an illegitimate institution meant to impose the occupier upon our people, sentenced Comrade Sa’adat to 30 years inside the Zionist prisons.
why is he in jail? that is a good question. the zionist regime originally sentenced him to one charge and when they couldn’t find any evidence they changed the charge to some ambiguous, vague charge:
“Given the status of the accused within this terrorist organisation, given the actions put in place to develop the movement’s military structures and given that … the fighters (of the organisation) were under his command, the court sentences him to 30 years in prison,” the statement said.
When Israeli forces seized Saadat in March 2006 in a controversial raid on a Palestinian-run prison in Jericho, he stood accused of planning the 2001 murder of Rehavam Zeevi, Israel’s tourism minister at the time.
Prosecutors later decided not to pursue this case against Saadat, instead pressing the charges against four PFLP fighters who were seized along with him in Jericho.
here is background on sa’adat and the bogus nature of the case itself, including american and british involvement in his kidnapping:
Born in 1953, Sa’adat is the child of refugees expelled from their home in the village of Deir Tarif, near Ramleh, in 1948. A math teacher by training, he is married to Abla Sa’adat, herself a noted activist, and is the father of four children. Abla Sa’adat was herself arrested and detained for four months, and prevented from leaving Palestine to speak about Palestinian rights at an international conference. He has been involved in the Palestinian national movement since 1967, when he became active in the student movement. Prior to his abduction from Jericho in 2006, he had been held at various times as a political prisoner in Israeli jails, for a total of ten years. Sa’adat was elected General Secretary of the PFLP in 2001, following the Israeli assassination of then-General Secretary Abu Ali Mustafa in his office in Ramallah on August 27, 2001.
Sa’adat had been held in a Palestinian Authority prison for over four years, and, in January 2006, elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council on the Abu Ali Mustafa slate, when on March 14, 2006, the Israeli military stormed that prison at Jericho, abducting Sa’adat and five fellow prisoners and taking them to Israeli military prisons. For the entire period of Sa’adat’s imprisonment in Israeli and PA jails, he has been convicted of no crime; his trial – in an illegitimate military court of occupation – is beginning only now, after a combined total of over five years of detention.
This trial is, of course, a military trial, as are the trials of nearly all Palestinian political prisoners, presided over by three military judges, two of which are not required to have any legal background. These trials are based on military law, including military regulations that may be issued at any time by the Israeli military commander over the area. This military rule under occupation dates from the era of the British occupation of Palestine, in which these “emergency” military rules were adopted in order to suppress the Palestinian national movement for independence and self-determination. These military laws continue today for the same purpose – to continue a military occupation and suppress the indigenous people of Palestine’s struggle for liberation and self-determination. Such military trials generally fail to uphold international standards for fair trials. At a more basic level, they are an illegitimate manifestation of an illegitimate system – trials that, by their very nature, can never be fair or legitimate.
Sa’adat is the child of 1948 refugees who, with six million others in Palestine, in the camps outside Palestine and in exile around the world, are denied their right to return to their homes, lands and properties and denied their right to organize, struggle and act to obtain their freedom, their return and their liberation.
JERICHO ASSAULT AND ABDUCTION
On March 14, 2006, the Israeli army laid siege for twelve hours to the Palestinian prison at Jericho holding six political prisoners. Israeli bulldozers and tanks attacked the prison while the Israeli military issued threats of assassination against the prisoners. This military assault caused the death of two Palestinians, the injury of twenty-three more, and the abduction of Ahmad Sa’adat and five other political prisoners from Jericho to Zionist prisons.
For over four years, these men had been held in the Palestinian Authority prison at Jericho, under U.S. and British guards. Immediately prior to the Israeli assault on the prison, these U.S. and British guards abandoned their posts, clearing the way for the military attack. The U.S. State Department blamed Palestinians for the siege, stating that the democratically-elected Palestinian Legislative Council leadership had indicated its willingness to release these illegally-held political prisoners. Said Sa’adat in a letter to the Palestinian people after his abduction, “The Quartet [US, EU, Russia and UN] provide a cover for occupation. What happened in Jericho Prison has made the British and US governments an integral part of the conflict and forever buried any illusions in their neutrality.”
Since his abduction – a blatant violation of Palestinian sovereignty – Sa’adat’s trial has been repeatedly postponed and delayed. Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz admitted shortly following the abduction that there was insufficient evidence to indict Sa’adat in the assassination of extreme racist Israeli minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001, an act of retaliation for the August 2001 Israeli murder of PFLP General Secretary Abu Ali Mustafa. Instead, Sa’adat was indicted on a wide array of political charges in a hearing on March 28, 2006 at Ofer Military Base in Ramallah.
Sa’adat has consistently and repeatedly refused to recognize the legitimacy of the illegitimate court; his lawyers have petitioned for the charges to be dropped, as they are clearly politically motivated and the court itself is illegitimate. His trial has been repeatedly postponed, from May 2006, to September 2006, to January 2007, to May 2007, and now to July/August 2008. With each hearing, Sa’adat’s courageous refusal to recognize in any way the illegitimate court – refusing to stand for the military judges, issuing statements exposing this mockery of justice, and refusing to deal with the military courts or interrogators – stand in clear contrast to the system of occupation and oppression represented by the military courts, exposing its bankruptcy and illegitimacy.
On August 27, 2001, PFLP General Secretary Abu Ali Mustafa was assassinated by a missile shot from an Apache helicopter by the Israeli military as he worked in his office in Ramallah. This assassination was the latest in a long line of assassinations by the Israeli state of Palestinian political leaders, a policy that continues to this day. Following the murder of Abu Ali Mustafa, Ahmad Sa’adat was elected General Secretary of the PFLP.
Rehavam Ze’evi, the tourism minister in Ariel Sharon’s Israeli government, represented the Moledet party, an extreme racist party whose program is based on the expulsion and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from all of Palestine. Ze’evi, whose long military career included involvement in the war of 1948 and the expulsion of nearly a million Palestinian refugees from their homes and lands, continued his quest to uproot the Palestinian people through the Israeli military and political system throughout his career, referring to Palestinians as “a cancer” and “lice.” In retaliation for the murder of Abu Ali Mustafa, on October 17, 2001, fighters from the PFLP’s armed wing assassinated Ze’evi in the Hyatt hotel in Jerusalem.
Israel continued its campaign of mass terror against the Palestinian people, attacking Palestinian cities and towns, including the town of Beit Rima, where the Israeli military killed nine Palestinians while purportedly searching for Sa’adat. Israel repeatedly demanded that the Palestinian Authority crack down on the PFLP and arrest its leaders and members, threatening the PA leadership if it refused to act on behalf of the Israeli military to repress the Palestinian resistance. Nonetheless, yielding to the demands of Israel, the U.S. and Britain, on January 15, 2002, Sa’adat attended a meeting with PA security under false pretenses, from which he was abducted and taken to the Muqata’a compound in Ramallah, then-Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s headquarters. In February 2002, four of Sa’adat’s comrades in the PFLP, Ahmed Ghoulmi, Majdi Rimawi, Hamdi Qu’ran and Basel al-Asmar, were also arrested by PA security services and brought to the Muqata’a.
In March and April of 2002, Israeli military forces laid siege to the Muqata’a, and as demanded by the United States and Great Britain as a condition for the end of Israel’s siege of the Muqata’a, Sa’adat, Ghoulmi, Rimawi, Qu’ran, al-Asmar and Fuad Shoubaki would be transferred to the PA’s prison at Jericho to be held as political prisoners.
On April 25, 2002, Ghoulmi, Rimawi, Qu’ran and al-Asmar were tried in an impromptu military court of the Palestinian Authority inside the besieged Muqata’a. With Israeli tanks directly outside the Muqata’a, Quran, Al-Asmar, Rimawi and Gholmi were tried and sentenced for the Ze’evi assassination. Despite their civilian status, the four were tried before a military court presided over by Brigadier-General Ribhi Arafat, who had no legal standing to act as a judge. They were not allowed to have attorneys or proper legal defense in a trial that took a total of two hours. No evidence, no confessions and no statements were received in order to convict the four; all were found guilty and the verdicts immediately ratified by PA President Yasser Arafat, and the four were given no right to appeal the verdicts.
Ahmad Sa’adat was never charged nor tried for any crime. After the sentencing, the four were transferred on May 1, 2002, with the uncharged and untried Sa’adat, to Jericho Prison, ostensibly under the control of the PA, but subject to the guardianship of United States and British forces. On May 2, 2002, Israeli forces withdrew from the Muqata’a. The director of the US/British “supervision” of the prisoners at Jericho Prison formerly ran the infamous Maze Detention Center for Britain in the occupied North of Ireland. The prisoners were not subject to Palestinian sovereignty and authority, but rather to the conditions and demands of the United States and Great Britain. Sa’adat and his comrades were held under difficult conditions in Jericho prison, often secluded from one another and not allowed to communicate, denied access to newspapers, books, recreation and family and other visits. Water and electricity in their cells have been turned off, and numerous other punitive measures were implemented against them by the British and U.S. guards “monitoring” the prison. In response, Sa’adat and his comrades have engaged in two hunger strikes, demanding an end to inhumane treatment and their immediate release.
The Palestinian High Court of Justice, the highest Palestinian judicial body, ruled on June 3, 2002 that Sa’adat should be released immediately. Numerous Palestinian and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, called for the release of Sa’adat and the implementation of Palestinian and international law. Nevertheless, Sa’adat was never released; the PA refused to comply with the orders of its own judiciary, the U.S., Britain, and Israel demanded he remain held as a political prisoner, and the PA complied with their demands. While Sa’adat was imprisoned in Jericho, on August 20, 2002, the Israeli military assassinated his brother Mohammed, illustrating the continuing campaign of assassination and murder on the part of the Israeli regime. Sa’adat – and his fellow political prisoners – remained in Jericho prison in 2006, until the Israeli siege on the prison.
and here is sa’adat’s statement given today at the time of his sentencing:
At the outset, I do not stand to defend myself in front of your court has already confirmed that I do not recognize the legitimacy of this court as an extension of the illegal occupation under international law, and as well as the legitimacy of our people’s right to resist occupation, and that this court is based on the British emergency laws of 1945 about which one of one of the leaders of the Zionist Labor Party said after their approval, It is one of the worst of the Nazi laws. He added, “It is true that the Nazi crimes committed did not reach the degree of crime of this legislation.“
So I stand to defend my people and their legitimate right to national independence and self-determination and return. These rights are guaranteed by international law and humanitarian law and the resolutions of the United Nations, as well as the most recent recommendations of the Hague Tribunal on the wall.
I defend the right of our people to peace and stability not only in this region, but also in the whole world. Security and stability can never be achieved in Palestine or in the region and the world as long as there is a policy based on the logic of the occupation and imposition of things on people, whether by force through military invasion or occupation, as in Palestine.
I stand before this court again today, as a mechanism for the suppression of our people and a tool of oppression, that is unable to end the resistance and is an example of the inability of the occupation and its policies imposed on the peoples to do so. If you review the files of the prisoners of the Zionist occupation of Palestine, you will find that many of the prisoners are held a second time or a third time, because this mechanism has failed to deter our people or our activists fighting for our rights.
This, like many other examples of the failure of the occupation and its tools to suppress of our people and abolish our resistance, and these courts, will remain as long as the occupation exists and will also remain in the resistance of our people.
The existing policy of the occupation and the logic of imposing by force will not bring security to Israel or other countries engaged in occupation. The main route to achieve security, stability and peace in the region is to end the occupation and the implementation of the resolutions of international legitimacy for the Palestinian cause, to provide a climate in which a democratic, peaceful and humane solution to the Palestinian crisis and the Arab-Zionist conflict is established from the roots is the only way to end violence and bloodshed.
Finally, I have already stressed in my previous statements from the so-called indictment, to the trial that has been formulated, and now reiterate the same position after your court concluded, that this is one-sided and farcical way to achieve its resolution under a mere image of a “court.” The convictions were known in advance, and pre-determined by the terms of the political and security mechanism, which is made “legitimate” by the court.
The essence of my position is that I am proud of the Palestinian people and their political and national resistance and their just struggle to achieve their national rights and also I am proud of the trust given me by the Central Committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, by electing me as Secretary-General, and I’m sorry that I have not yet been able to fully perform my duties, first: because of the detention of the Palestinian Authority and the loss of my freedoms to work for more than four years, and second because of this abduction, in which more than one party – the U.S., Britain and the Palestinian Authority – were complicit; and notwithstanding anything that could hamper you or force you, you cannot stop the struggle, along with my people, in whatever space of movement.
Long live the struggle of the Palestinian people!
December 25, 2008