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Ahmad Sa'adat: A Palestinian Prisoner of Conscience

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Ahmad Sa'adat: A Palestinian Prisoner of Conscience - by Stephen Lendman

Detailed information about him can be accessed through the following link:

http://www.freeahmadsaadat.org/bg.html

He's the 1967-founded Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's (PFLP) General Secretary, one of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners, sentenced in 2002 to 30 years in prison "for a range of 'security-related' political offenses,' " including his prominence in a prohibited organization, a 1993 document stating that:

"The strategic aim of the PFLP's struggle alongside the other forces of the Palestinian revolution is to liberate Palestine from Zionist colonial occupation. The PFLP aims for the establishment of a democratic state on the entire Palestinian land, with its capital in Jerusalem. This state would guarantee legal rights and equality of opportunity to all citizens, without discrimination on the grounds of religion, sex, belief or color. It would oppose Zionism and imperialism and be oriented towards democratic unity with other Arab countries."

"Achieving this aim presupposes a radical solution for the Palestinian national cause and readiness to wage a prolonged, complicated and difficult struggle (against Zionism), a racist, aggressive, expansionist, settler-colonial entity which aims at elimination of our people." Great sacrifices are needed to prevent it.

Sa'adat's Background

Born in 1953 in Deir Tarif village near Ramallah in the West Bank, the son of dispossessed refugees, he became activist after the 1967 Six Day War. In 2001, he was elected PFLP General Secretary, replacing Abu Ali Mustafa, assassinated by Israel on August 27 that year.

In February 1969, Israel first arrested him for PFLP activities, detaining for three months - then for 28 months in 1970, 10 months in 1973, and 45 days in 1975. That year, he graduated from UNWRA's Ramallah Teaching Training College, specializing in math. In 1976, he was arrested again and held four years. In April 1981, he was elected to PLFP's Central Committee. In 1989, he was arrested and detained nine months, again in 1992 for 13 months, then released but declared a "wanted person," subject to re-arrest without cause.

In 1994, he became the PFLP's West Bank leader, arrested again in 1995, briefly detained by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1996, then arrested by the PA with other PFLP members. On February 27, 1997, following a hunger strike, he was released without charge, authorities fearing he might die in prison. In fact, he collapsed, became comatose and needed emergency treatment in Ramallah Hospital.

Arrested again in 2002, the PA held him at Jericho Prison for over four years. On August 20, 2002, Israeli forces assassinated his brother, Mohammed. On January 25, 2006, he was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council on the Abu Ali Mustafa slate. On March 14, 2006, the IDF stormed the prison, abducting Sa'adat and five others, incarcerating them in Israeli military prisons.

He committed no crime, was given a military trial by three military judges, with no legal training, in a military court, charged with organizing the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister, Rehavam Zeevi on October 17, 2001, and was convicted by "an illegitimate manifestation of an illegitimate system...."

In June 2002, Amnesty International called for his immediate release after a Palestinian court ordered it, Fatah's cabinet overriding the decision the same day, abiding by a US-brokered deal ending Israel's 34-day siege on PA Chairman Yasser Arafet's Ramallah headquarters on May 1.

After Israel abducted him, a Sa'adat wrote:

"The Quartet (US, EU, Russia and the UN) provide a cover for occupation. What happened at Jericho Prison has made the British and US governments an integral part of the conflict and forever buried any illusions (of) their neutrality" - referring to American and UK guards abandoning their posts, letting Israeli forces storm the prison, abduct Sa'adat and others, kill two detainees, and injure 23 more.

On December 25, 2008, he was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment, Israel's harshest political punishment, illegal under international law. According to a PFLP statement, he was "sentenced to 30 years in Israeli jails for political reasons and not for any other crime," Sa'adat refusing to recognize the court's legitimacy, calling himself "a prisoner for freedom."

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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