TEL-AVIV LAWYER ACCUSES PA COURT OF SENTENCING "COLLABORATOR" TO DEATH TO
APPEASE HAMAS LEADERS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 18, 2002
Imprisoned Hamas Official's Execution Offered as "Peace Gesture" By Arafat
Tel-Aviv attorney, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, has harshly criticized the death
penalty handed down by a Palestinian Authority security court in a closed
trial hours ago, labeling it a "blood sacrifice to Sheik Yassin." The
defendant in the proceeding, Walid Hamdiya, was arrested in 1995 and
accused of working undercover on behalf of Israel's security services.
Abruptly today, Hamdiya was taken from the cell he has been held in for the
past seven years and brought to Palestinian intelligence headquarters.
In a closed session of the Palestinian security court, which lasted only
hours, Hamdiya was convicted and sentenced to death by firing squad.
At the time of his arrest Hamdiya was a senior member of Hamas. Palestinian
police allege that Hamdiya was secretly working on behalf of Israel for over
fifteen years. Since his arrest seven years ago, Hamdiya has been held by
the Palestinians without trial.
Attorney Darshan-Leitner contends that the sudden tribunal and death
sentence is a desperate bid by Yassir Arafat to calm tension between Hamas
activist and the Palestinian police. Ten days ago Hamas gunmen assassinated
Colonel Rajeh Abu Lihyeh, a senior Palestinian police official in Gaza. The
killing was a retaliation for Lihyeh's alleged involvement in the deaths of
several Gaza residents affiliated with the Islamic terrorist group. Since
Lihyeh's shooting, violence between Hamas and the Palestinian police has
The Palestinian leadership, the Tel-Aviv lawyer claims, is anxiously trying
to pacify Hamas leaders by carrying out a public execution of Hamdiya on
their behalf. Arafat hopes that by placing the former Hamas leader before a
firing squad he can quell the anger still raging amongst the terrorist group
Last month, another accused collaborator, Akram Mohammed al-Zatma, was
turned over to Hamas for execution by Gaza police boss Rashid Abu Shabak.
al-Zatma was taken from his cell and delivered to masked Hamas gunmen who
quickly murdered him gangland style. On September 23rd, al-Zatma's body was
discovered in a garbage container in Gaza. al-Zatma had not received a
"The sudden trial and death sentence given to Walid Hamdiya today is a
desperate attempt by Arafat to appease the Hamas leadership," attorney
Darshan-Leitner said, "After seven years of allowing Hamdiya to languish in
his cell without any legal proceeding, Arafat now finds it politically
necessary to offer him up as a blood sacrifice to Sheik Yassin. The rising
tensions between Hamas and Fatah are sealing the fate of all those
Palestinians imprisoned in the PA on suspicions of having collaborated with
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