[Ppnews] Sa'adat Rejects Israeli Interrogation as Illegal

Political Prisoner News PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Mar 17 20:47:08 EST 2006

Sa'adat Rejects Israeli Interrogation as Illegal, 
Israeli Government Violated Agreement by 
Kidnapping and Re-Trying Palestinian Prisoners
Sa'adat Denies Involvement in Killing of Israeli Minister

Arab News, Agencies

RAMALLAH, 17 March 2006 ­

A Palestinian leader seized by Israeli occupation 
forces in a raid on the Jericho, where he was 
imprisoned in the West Bank jail, denied any 
responsibility for his group’s 2001 assassination 
of an Israeli Cabinet Minister, his lawyer said yesterday.

“I reject the accusations,” Ahmed Sa'adat was 
quoted as saying by his attorney, who met the 
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine 
(PFLP) chief at an Israeli detention center in Jerusalem.

Four members of a PFLP cell convicted by a 
Palestinian court in 2002 of carrying out the 
assassination were also seized by Israeli troops 
at the jail after a daylong siege.

Sa'adat was jailed by the Palestinian Authority 
in connection with the assassination but was never convicted of the charge.

At a news conference Sa'adat’s attorney, Mahmoud 
Hassan, relayed defiant comments he said his 
client made to Israeli interrogators.

“I told the interrogators I do not recognize any 
interrogation,” Hassan quoted Sa'adat, 51, as 
saying. “This is illegal. I rejected my presence 
in their jails as illegal.” Chief Palestinian 
negotiator Sa'eb Erekat told a separate news 
conference he had asked the United States and 
Britain to press Israel to hand “the abducted 
men” back to the Palestinian Authority 
immediately rather than put them in trial.

Under a 1995 interim peace deal, Israel cannot 
re-try Palestinians if they have already been 
tried by a Palestinian court for the same offense, he said.

Israeli forces besieged the Jericho prison, where 
Sa'adat had been held since 2002 under an 
international agreement, to bring him to Israel 
for a re-trial after Palestinian President 
Mahmoud Abbas said he was prepared to free him.

The troops moved in minutes after US and British 
monitors supervising Sa'adat’s incarceration left 
the jail. The United States and Britain said they 
had told Abbas a week ago the monitors could be withdrawn immediately.

Abbas described the Israeli operation as a crime that would not be forgiven.

US Consul-General Jacob Walles met Abbas 
yesterday and told reporters: “We explained the 
reasons why we removed the monitors, which was 
because of our concerns about their security, and 
he expressed his concerns of the event.”

The monitors were stationed at the jail under an 
arrangement that ended a 2002 Israeli siege of 
the late Palestinian President Yassir Arafat’s 
compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where 
Sa'adat and the other PFLP men were taking refuge.

Around 61 Palestinians remain in Israeli custody 
following a massive army raid on a prison in the 
West Bank town of Jericho, Palestinian Interior 
Minister Nasr Yussuf said yesterday.

“Sixty-one prisoners are in Israeli hands,” the 
minister told reporters as he toured the site of 
the destroyed prison compound in Jericho. “We 
call on Israel to release all the prisoners.”

A punch-up broke out during Yussuf’s visit after 
PFLP members called for the minister’s 
resignation over Saadat’s capture and exchanged 
blows with Palestinian police officers, a reporter said.

Meanwhile, Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli 
soldier taking part in a West Bank operation 
yesterday in which five wanted men were detained, the Israeli army said.

Elsewhere in the occupied territory, gunmen shot 
and wounded two Israeli motorists near an illegal Israeli settlement.

Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters battled 
for more than an hour at a building the troops 
surrounded in the West Bank city of Jenin.

“One of the men emerged running from the building 
and an exchange of fire immediately erupted 
between the forces and the gunmen during which 
one of the soldiers was killed,” the army said in a statement.

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