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Barghuti’s Israeli Trial Resumes, Adjourns


Barghuti’s Israeli Trial Resumes, Adjourns

‘I Am Isolated, They Want to Kill Me’, Says Palestinian MP

Palestinian Legislative Council member Marwan Barghuti said during his trial in Tel Aviv on Monday that Israelis were trying to kill him by keeping him in solitary confinement.

“I am isolated in a cell infested with cockroaches. They want to kill me,” said the leader of Fatah movement in the West Bank, who was kidnapped from the city of Ramallah and detained by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) 15 months ago, said Monday.

“I have not seen my family and my children for 15 months on the pretext that they would be a threat to the security of the state,” Barghuti added as he refused to take a stand in the court or call witnesses for his defense.

Israel has imposed a ban on Barghuti receiving visitors, alleging he was abusing the right “in order to organize terror activity from his prison cell.”

Barghuti was detained in April 2002 by the IOF in the West Bank city of Ramallah and first appeared before an Israeli court in September 2002.

“This is a political process and the court should resign,” said Barghuti, who has consistently challenged the court’s competence to hear his case, the AFP reported.

The Palestinian political leader also said that the remarks by the Israeli government’s legal advisor Elyakim Rubinstein, who had described him as “a terrorist chief” before any verdict had been reached, showed that “there can be no justice for Palestinians before any Israeli court.”

“This process has been settled in advance. The Palestinians have a right to an independent state. We have no fear of closures, curfews and the occupation. The Israeli government does not want peace and I refuse to recognize” this court, he said.

Three judges hearing the trial of Barghuti at the Tel Aviv District Court criticized the Israeli Attorney General calling before the trial had ended.

Rubinstein made the comments following reports that Israel was considering releasing Barghouti
along with other Palestinian prisoners under the US-backed “roadmap” plan for Mideast peace.

Barghuti said that “a political decision to convict me has been made and my chances of getting off are like [Shinui leader Yosef] Tommy Lapid's chances of becoming leader of Shas.”

He further said that Rubinstein’s comments two weeks ago constitute a “blatant” interference in the legal proceedings against him.

The three judges agreed with him, saying that Rubinstein’s comments were out of place and constituted sub judice as Barghouti was not yet convicted of involvement in terrorism.

Before Monday’s court session, Gush Shalom peace activists demonstrated at the court, calling for Barghouti’s release. Demonstrators held up signs saying “Barghouti to talks table, not to jail.”

The case was adjourned until August 21.


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