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Saturday, 14 January 2012

The 'Only Democracy in the Middle East' Gaols 23 Elected Members of the Palestine Legislative Assembly

More than 40 Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (MPLC) kidnapped since 2006

London - 2/1/2012

“UFree Network: Israeli occupation keeps until today 23 MPLCs in detention"

Israeli occupation authorities continue to captive twenty three elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council for their political activities, and are subject to illegal administrative detention without charge.

According to UFree Network, in an exclusive report published on Monday 2/1/2012, the Israeli occupation has detained more than forty MPLC since mid-2006, and still insists on arresting twenty-three of them at the moment.

The report added that "It is crystal clear that Israeli illegal practices against members of the Palestinian legislative council are a blatant violation of international conventions and laws, which criminalize the abduction of members of the governing and elected bodies, and arbitrarily detaining them. The report considered it" an act of vengeance and it is unacceptable. "

The report pointed out that an Article (34) of Geneva's Fourth Convention states that: "taking hostages is prohibited", especially if this matter jeopardizes the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another entity, as confirmed by the first article of the General Assembly of the United Nations of 14/12/1974 concerning the definition of aggression as: "the use of armed force by one State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State, or in any way inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations."

1- MPLC Ahmad Saadat - Secretary General of the People's Front for the Liberation of Palestine

(Isolated for years in solitary confinement and banned from visits)

Saadat has been abducted by the Israeli authorities for five years, where they kidnapped him from the prison of Jericho in Palestine on March 14, 2006 after it attacked the headquarters of the prison and surrounding it for 12 hours.

One day after he was abducted, the Israeli authorities announced its intention to give Saadat to trial, and he is the highest political figure seized by Israel in its prisons for two and a half years of investigation and administrative detention before they issue a verdict against MPLC Ahmed Saadat, at Ofer Prison Court, which sentenced him to 30 years on December 25, 2008.

MPLC Saadat has endured several ways and forms of abuse and revenge, like transferring him to various prisons, and ill-treatment by Israeli interrogators and prison guards and keeping him in solitary confinement cells since March 9, 2009.

Israeli authorities have worked on isolating him in solitary confinement for six months without allowing him to see the other prisoners, and after that period, they isolated another prisoner with him for 23 hours in a closed room with a small closed window. He was allowed an hour a day out of the cell to another area, also closed, no sun, and with chains around his ankles.

In November 2011, the Israeli military court extended the period of isolated confinement for another whole year. He has been also forbid from family visits for four years, and the authorities are giving hard time for lawyers and the Red Cross representatives who want to visit him.

Aggression extended to MP Saadat's wife as well, Ms. Abla Saadat, where the occupation forces arrested her unjustly for three months, then they imposed house arrest on her. Ms. Saadat reported that the Israeli intelligence officer, who conducted the interrogation with her, told her, "we will keep you for 3 months and then we will let you go, however, tell your husband, Saadat, that we have targeted his brother and arrested his wife this time, but next time we will target his children."

The arrest of MPLC Saadat is genuinely political; he is the highest detained Palestinian political figure, and elected MPLC. However, the Israeli authorities are trying to frame him for the murder of Israeli Tourism Minister, Rehavam Zeevi, but when the Israel prosecutors failed to find evidence to support their claims against Saadat; they transferred him to Ofer Military Court, while the rest of the defendants were transferred to the Central Court in Jerusalem where their trial was held there for the same accusation of killing the minister.

Whilst the list of accusations at the military court in Ofer lacked any reference to the assassination of Zeevi, they proceeded to fabricate charges of activities carried out by Saadat in 1998 and 1999 while he was living a normal life in the city of Ramallah, just under the Israeli noses.

2- MPLC Ahmed Al-Haj

He is the elected MPLC of the province of Nablus, being 71 years old; he is the oldest of the detained MPLCs. Israeli forces arrested the MPLC Al-Haj in 2008 for his political activities and for his position as an MP in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

He spent 15 months in the Israeli prisons, and then he got re-arrested on Tuesday 07/06/2011, the authorities attacked his home in the late hours of night, and started to search and tamper in Al-Haj's belongings, and he was transferred to detention for six months, then they renewed this period for another six months on 06/12/2011. By then, MPLC Al-Haj became the oldest living detainee, not to mention the Israeli complete negligence of Al-Haj's parliamentary immunity.

Al-Haj suffers from health problems due to his old age, lack of medical care in the Israeli prisons, and having to stay in harsh conditions; a health report witnessed by UFree Network, that Al-Haj has lost 70% of his ability to hear, and a significance loss of the sense of taste, suffering from sinusitis, which caused him a constant cold throughout the year, along with other health problems of the urinary tract and prostate.

In addition to the complicated situation of the prisoner MPLC Al-Haj, who has been kept in Israeli Megiddo prison, the Israeli authorities denied his family the right to visit him in prison, where his sons and many family members requested for a visit, which was answered by refusal and denial.

Al-Haj's son reported that the permits of visits are strictly banned since June 2011, and they haven't heard any news from his father.

3 - MPLC Jamal Tirawi - spokesman of Fatah's parliamentary Party

Jamal Tirawi is a member in the Legislative Council of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement "Fatah", born in 1966, lives in the Balata refugee camp in Nablus and his roots goes back to the occupied town of Tira.

Tirawi was arrested four times for a sum of 14 years in prison in Israeli prisons for his political activities with "Fatah".

He was kidnapped from his home by Israeli authorities during a military operation on 29/5/2007, as he was a media spokesman for Fatah's parliamentary party in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

The investigation with Tirawi lasted more than four years, during which he lived in difficult and harsh conditions of arrest, and then finally he was trialed by the Israeli Military Court, "Salem". He was sentenced to 30 years in prison on 30/10/2011, after a legal battle that lasted for more than 70 court sessions.

Ahmed Betawi, the counsel of "International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights" stated that the Israel prosecution charged MPLC Tirawi for his relations with one of the groups of "Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades" which is the military wing of "Fatah" which launched "attacks against some Israeli targets", a charge absolutely denied by Tirawi, stressing that his arrest and trial are purely political, and related to his position in the Parliament and political activity as a spokesman for the Fatah Party in the Parliament.

The Media department of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas office reported to have special documentation that proves the existence of a formal Palestinian-Israeli agreement to not to prosecute or arrest MPLC Tirawi, in which Israel pledged to keep away from whom are "wanted", so they call them.

The Palestinian Presidential office condemned the arrest of Tirawi, as a serious violation of the agreement, and a blatant infringement of the symbols of the democratically elected Palestinian legitimacy, this contradicts with the most basic rules of international conventions and the UN that criminalize attacks on members of the legislative authority of any political entity.

4- MPLC Abdel Rahman Zeidan

From Tulkarm, a refugee from Khirbet village, he is 45 years old, holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Alabama in the United States of America, and a Masters degree in Highway Engineering and Transportation.

5 - MPLC Maher Badr

From Hebron of the West Bank, he is 55 years old, holds a PhD in Islamic Law, and worked as a lecturer at Hebron and Jerusalem open Universities before he was arrested by the Israeli occupation authorities.

6 - MPLC Mahmoud Ramahi

Was elected as secretary of the Palestinian Legislative Council, a resident of Al-Bireh in Ramallah, he is 48 years old. He studied medicine at the University of Rome, Italy, and holds the Palestinian Board certificate in the specialties of anesthesia and intensive care.

He served as a founding member of the Scientific Medical Association and chairman of the Medical Center in Ramallah, before being arrested. MPLC Ramahi is a popular respectful figure among the Palestinians and the various factions and politicians.

7 - MPLC Khalil Musa Robee

From the city of Nablus in the West Bank, he is 52 years old. He specializes in accounting and business administration. He was the head of a number of associations, service organizations, charity foundations and popular reform committees. He was the director of Southern West Bank Electricity Company.

8 - MPLC Ayman Daraghmeh

He was arrested three times by Israeli authorities since he held legislative powers after becoming a member of the Palestinian legislative council. He was first arrested in mid-2006 with his fellow MPs and ministers in the Tenth Palestinian Government.

The Israeli authorities rearrested him in 2009 and he was transferred to administrative detention, then the Israeli military court "Ofer" extended the period for four times causing him to stay in prison until late 2010. And then the Israeli authorities rearrested him on 14/12/2011 after storming into his house in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank.

9 – MPLC Mohamed Ismail Al-Tal

He is a subject to illegal administrative detention in the Israeli prisons, he was firstly arrested when he won the elections in 2006, then released after 44 months of detention, then he was rearrested after a few months, and transferred to administrative detention until this moment.

10- MPLC Nayef Al Rjoub

MPLC and former Minister Nayef Rajoub was a subject to various arrests since 1989, he spent a total of 8 years in Israeli prisons, He has been transferred between a number of Israeli prisons and subjected to various forms of illegal practices such as administrative detention, solitary confinement , and now he is kept in the Negev desert prison.

Rjoub played many significant roles in the Palestinian life; he was the head of charity and service association. He is elected MPLC with the highest votes in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections in the West Bank.

He was the Minister of "Awqaf" and Religious Affairs in the Tenth Palestinian Government, and is the author of numerous novels and literary works.

11-MPLC Fadel Hamdan

From Ramallah, he is 58 years old. He is one of the figures of social reform in his city, where citizens turn to him to seek advice to solve family and clan problems.

12- MPLC Omar Abdul-Razek

MPLC Abdul-Razek is a professor of economics at Najah National University for 20 years. He received his education from the University of Iowa in the United States of America.

MPLC Abdul-Razek was a subject of various illegal procedures and kept under administrative detention, he is now in Megiddo prison, where the occupation authorities extended the administrative detention under claiming the existence of a confidential file of him which clearly violates the international law.

MPLC Abdul-Razek was the Minister of Finance in the Tenth Palestinian government.

13 - MPLC Mohammed Abu Tir

From the village of Sur Baher of the city of Jerusalem, was arrested by the Israeli forces in 2006 with his other MPLCs and ministers elected, and sentenced for 52 months. Once he was released, the Israeli intelligence issued an order to exile him and other MPLCs of Jerusalem and former ministers.

The Israeli forces were able to re-arrest him again in late 2010.

14 - MPLC Mohammed Natsheh

From Hebron in the West Bank, was born in 1958 and holds a bachelor's degree in Islamic Law, and worked as a teacher of the University Palestinians Association. He was subjected to regular arrests, and then re-arrested in 2006 with his fellow MPLCs and ministers in The Tenth Palestinian Government.

15 - MPLC Hassan Yousef

From the city of Ramallah, he is 56 years old, a popular prominent political figure in Hamas leadership, and has the respect Palestinian factions and on good terms with them. Was arrested in 2006 with other MPLCs and ministers elected, and was released during a few months to be re-arrested again.

16 - MPLC Mohammed Mutlaq Abu Gehisha:

From Hebron in the West Bank, was regularly arrested by the Israeli forces, as well as his sons. His wife says that the Israeli army was intentionally breaking into his home and breaking its contents in each arrest, especially after he won a seat in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

17 - MPLC Nizar Ramadan

From Hebron, holds a master's degree in Contemporary Islamic Studies, works as a writer and journalist and has published several books, he held several positions. He is a leader in union of journalists of Palestine, and treasurer of the Association of Charity Foundation.

He was arrested several times in the Israeli prisons; the last arrest started mid-2011 as he is a subject to illegal administrative detention.

18 – MPLC Hatem Kafisha

A reformer and social activist, he held several service positions and is kept now in the Israeli Negev prison. He is a leading figure of the prisoners inside the prison.

19 - MPLC Samir Al-Qady

From the town of Surif in the West Bank, he is 55 years old. He studied medicine in one of the Ukrainian universities, and served as director of Al-Ahly Hospital in addition to his private medical practice.

He was arrested in 2006 along with his fellow MPLCs and ministers, then was released after 3 years, then re-arrested in 16/6/2011 and still under the illegal administrative detention.

20 - MPLC Azzam Salhab

From the city of Hebron of the West Bank, holds a Master's degree in the Islamic Law, was arrested along with his fellow MPLCs and ministers, he spent 18 months in Israeli prisons, and then he was re-arrested early in 2011.

The Israeli authorities renewed his detention for a day, then arrested for the third time during the current Palestinian legislative session on 03.09.2011 and he was sentenced for illegal administrative detention again.

21 - MPLC Marwan Barghouthi

Born in the village of Cooper, northwest of Ramallah, he is 53 years old. He studied history and political science at the University of Birzeit, where he headed the Student Union, and holds a master's degree in International Affairs.

MPLC Barghouthi was targeted for several Israeli assassination attempts, when he was arrested by the occupation authorities, the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon then said that he regretted arresting Barghouthi alive and he preferred if he were burnt into ashes".

Shaul Mofaz, Israeli Defense Minister, commented on the abduction of Barghouti saying, "Arresting Barghouthi is a miracle, and he will remain in prison until his death."

He was sentenced in 2004 for life and forty years in prison, the maximum penalty demanded by the prosecution. Barghouti stated at the court hearing, addressing the judges, "You are committing a war crime issuing this illegal sentence, just like the pilots of the Israeli army who drop bombs on Palestinian civilians."

Barghouti said, "If the price of my people's freedom is losing my own, then I am willing to pay that price."

22 – MPLC Anwar Mohammed Al-Zaboun

From the city of Jerusalem, he holds a master's degree in physics from the University of Kiel in the United Kingdom.

MPLC Al-Zaboun was a student activist and a member of the Student Union at the University of Abu Dis in Jerusalem. He was arrested in 2006 along with his fellow MPLCs and ministers elected.

23 - MPLC Nasser Abdul Jawad

From the city of Salfit of the West Bank, holds a PhD degree. He was arrested from his home in the village of Deir Ballout due to his position in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

The Israeli military court renewed his illegal detention on 25/10/2011 for an additional 4 months.

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