Hamas legislator from Ramallah taken prisoner by the Israeli Army

IMEMC & Agencies - Monday, 28 August 2006, 02:32

Palestinian sources in Ramallah, in the northern part of the West Bank, reported on Sunday morning that Israeli troops took Mahmoud Musleh, an elected Hamas legislator at the Palestinian Legislative Council, prisoner after breaking into his home.

Musleh, 65, was arrested after the soldiers surrounding broke into his house in Ramallah.

Musleh was the head of Hamas media office during the first Intifada which started in 1987, and became the Hamas media spokesperson in 1995 and 1996. He was also a member of the National Dialogue Committee that was established by the late Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat.

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas slammed the abduction of Musleh and considered the attack as a direct violation against the Palestinian legitimacy and a violation to the signed agreements between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Israel.

Abbas demanded Israel to release all elected Legislators and Ministers. He also condemned the continuous Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip and called on the Quartet Committee and the International Community to stop the Israeli violations and aggression.

Since the beginning of the Israeli offensive, troops arrested 41 legislators, including the head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Dr. Aziz Dweik. 37 of the arrested Legislators are members of Hamas, three are members of Fateh and one is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Several Hamas ministers and mayors were also arrested since Israeli launched its offensive in the Gaza Strip following the abduction of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from an Israeli military base south of the Gaza Strip.

Shalit was abducted on Sunday morning, 25 June 2006. He was captured by Palestinian resistance fighters who attacked the Israeli military post, and killed two soldiers in the ensuing gun battles; two fighters were also killed in the attack.


Israel extends Prison Sentence of Minister of Jerusalem Affairs for Seventh Time without Charge

IMEMC Staff & Agencies - Friday, 25 August 2006, 17:35

An Israeli military court extended Khalid Abu Arafa's prison sentence for another eight days yesterday.This is the seventh time the court extended the Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Affairs' sentence, while he has still not been charged with any crime.

Sources indicate that the judge continues to grant the delays to give Israeli intelligence more time to come up with a reason to hold the Palestinian official, or something to charge him with.

As has been well-documented by the Palestinian Prisoner Society, if a charge is levied, the Israeli military courts often use a vague charge regarding "security," while defense attorneys and the accused are not allowed to view the evidence, also for "security" reasons.

The continued detention of the Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, accordingly, was said to be in the light of fact that "intelligence did not succeed in bringing logical and persuasive material" to continue imprisoning Abu Arafa. However, the judge postponed charging or trying him the last time as there were expectedto be "dramatic developments" with which to condemn Abu Arafa.. However, once again there was no new evidence offered.

Israeli forces arrested Abu Arafa in June and have put him before a military court judge in a Jerusalem military camp seven times since then.

What the Israeli military prosecution is aiming for is a charge that goes beyond the fact that the Minister of Jerusalem Affairs is a member of the Hamas party, which the Israelis coin a "terrorist organization."

After the Hamas party was democratically elected during the 25 January elections and then later assumed their Legislative Council seats and ministry positions, Israeli forces began arresting them.

On 29 June, Israeli forces arrested the Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and seven other ministers. In all Israeli forces also are imprisoning 31 Palestinian Legislative Council members, including the Speaker, Dr. Azzi Dweik, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Nasser Addin Al Sha'er.

Additionally Israeli forces arrested many members of local governments, including Qalqilia's Mayor and Deputy Mayor, during the past several months.

* sourced from PNN


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