November 23, 2007
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 sent him to the remote Nafha prison in the Naqab desert as part of an ongoing campaign to attempt to isolate the Palestinian resistance and to attack all those Palestinians who reject U.S./Israeli dictates, and to punish Ahmad Sa’adat for his position against the Annapolis conference. Physical conditions at Nafha are harsh and it will be very difficult for his family and his lawyers to meet with him.
In spite of this suffering, Ahmad Sa’adat didn’t hesitate to seize on the opportunity of his appearance at the court to state again his firm position against the Annapolis Conference. As he was brought in, he immediately stated in a loud voice, calling on the Palestinian People not to give any faith to 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 situation 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 barely audible; the security guards in the military court hurried to stand in front of him and throw the television crew of Al- Jazeera out of the courtroom, in an attempt to prevent Sa’adat’s voice from reaching the media.
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 Addameer, continue to boycott the court 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 who add nothing to the case.
Other witnesses were also called to give evidence today, but as they were all since freed from the Israeli prisons, they did not come and it seemed that the prosecutors had no way to force them to attend or testify. The next court hearing was set for Sunday, November 25, 2007.
Report from: Solidarity Campaign with Saadat & his comrades