Press Release - April 27, 2002
Addameer Association condemns the recent trial of Palestinian political prisoners, Hamdi Quran, Basel Al-Asmar, Majdi Rimawi and Ahed Gholmi, by State Security Court in Yasser Arafat?s compound in Ramallah on Thursday 25 April, 2002.
Hamdi Quran was sentenced to 18 years in prison with hard labor, Basel Al-Asmar to 12 years, Majdi Rimawi given an eight-year term and Ahed Gholmi sentenced for one year. The four detainees were accused of assassinating the far-right Israeli Tourism Minister, Rehevam Ze’evi last year. This action was claimed by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) as a response to the assassination of PLFP leader Abu Ali Mustafa on 27 August 2001.
The trial of the four detainees was conducted in a manner that contravenes all established principles of international law that guarantee a fair trial with proper legal representation. The four detainees were tried in front of a military court by Brigadier-General Ribhi Arafat, who has no legal qualifications and no authority to act as a judge. The detainees were not provided with proper legal defence, rather, a policeman with no legal training was appointed to act as their defence. The trial was not conducted in an open manner and the detainees have no right to appeal their sentences.
Such a trial is a mockery of all established legal norms. PA military tribunals and state security courts practice blatantly illegal procedures that must be ended immediately. Furthermore, these courts transgress the jurisdiction of the civilian judiciary by trying civilians.
Addameer is extremely concerned that the recent trial was carried out as a result of pressure applied by the Israeli and US governments. At a time of massive Israeli assault and siege on the Palestinian population, the Palestinian Authority must reject such pressure unequivocally. Trials such as these set a dangerous precedent for the future, and only serve to strengthen Israeli demands that the Palestinian Authority act as a surrogate police force for the Israeli military.
Addameer calls on international and local human rights organizations to condemn the actions of this illegal court and the sentences passed upon the four detainees.
Addameer demands that the PA uphold and safeguard the right of all detainees to minimum standards of treatment, including with regards to arrest, conditions of detention, knowledge of the charge, right to legal counsel, and the right to a fair trial by a competent body.