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.
Violations of their detention 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 a 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 (pictured left) 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.
This section of the Addameer website contains information about the six Palestinian political prisoners, the conduct of the trial and their conditions of detention. Help us win their freedom.