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(In 2007 I was observing Ahmad Sa’adat’s trial in the Ofer Military Court. Below is one report.)

Israeli Occupiers Punish Ahmad Sa’adat

For his declarations against the Anapolis Conference

Transferring him to the Nafha Prison in the Naqab Desert

The secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Sa’adat, appeared today, 18/11/2007, in the military court in ‘Ofer, for another hearing in the case against him. It is the first time he was seen in public after his recent deportation to the Nafha Prison, and it was a chance for him to make it clear why he was deported. The Israeli prison authorities punished him for his political position against the planned Anapolis Conference, and sent him to the remote Nafha prison, where physical conditions are harsh and where it will be very hard for his family or lawyers to meet him.

In spite of this suffering, Ahmad Sa’adat didn’t hesitate to size on the opportunity of his appearance at the court to state again his firm position against the Anapolis Conference. As he was brought in, he immediately started in loud voice to call on the Palestinian People not to give any faith in this “autumn conference”, and beware the goals behind it: To market the American policy, force the Arab regimes to normalize relations with Israel, continue the dealing with the Palestinian problem from the point of view of “Israeli security first”, perpetuation of the internal Palestinian divisions and give political cover to the belligerent Israeli policy of siege and expropriation against the Palestinian people.

He continued to call on Abu Mazen (the Palestinian President) not to take a one-sided decision to participate in the conference, as any decision should be taken by the whole Palestinian people, and as national unity was the only way to defend the suffering Palestinian people. These last sentences were hardly heard, as the security guards in the military court hurried to stand in front of him and throw the television crew of Aljazeera out of the court room.

The court’s hearing itself was very short. Only one witness was brought, and he refused to answer most of the prosecutor’s questions. He only said he was sentenced for membership of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and, yes, he knew Ahmad Sa’adat as the secretary general of the front. His only connection to Ahmad Sa’adat was that he visited him several times while Sa’adat was held by the Palestinian Authority in the Jericho Prison. Ahmad Sa’adat and his lawyer, Mahmud Hassan from el-Damir, continue to boycott the courts procedures, so there was no cross examination. The Military Judges frowned at the young officer that appeared for the prosecution for wasting their time. They called on the prosecution to reconsider its policy of bringing witnesses which adds nothing to the case.

Other witnesses were also invited to give evidence today, but as they were all since freed from the Israeli prisons, they didn’t care to come and it didn’t seem that the prosecution had any way to bring them.

The next court hearing was set to next Sunday, 25/11/2007.