Palestinian Sentenced to Death for Killing Hamas Bomb-Maker
A Palestinian was sentenced to death by a state security court for murder and treason over the killing of his cousin, a Hamas bomb-maker, in a car bomb blast in the West Bank last month.
Allan Beni Ouda, 24, who was sentenced at the end of a snap three-hour trial, admitted collaborating with Israeli agents after being drugged and blackmailed but denied any role in the death of Ibrahim Beni Ouda.
Ibrahim Beni Ouda, a leader of Ezzedin al-Qassam, the armed wing of the militant anti-Israeli movement Hamas, was blown up in a car in the northern West Bank town of Nablus on November 23.
The three-judge court, whose verdicts cannot be appealed, said Allan Beni Ouda would be executed by hanging. His only chance of a reprieve is if Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat agrees to commute his sentence to life in prison.
The verdict was welcomed by Hamas militants present in the court who chanted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest).
A total of 31 Palestinians have been sentenced to death by Palestinian courts since the establishment of Arafat's self-rule authority in 1994, but only three have been executed.
Police had said Allan Beni Ouda, who is married with two young children, worked in Israel as a laborer and was the owner of the car that exploded.
Hamas officials said Ibrahim Beni Ouda had been released from a jail in Nablus only the day before his death. He had been jailed some two years ago on charges of making bombs to carry out attacks against Israel.
Allan Beni Ouda told the court how he was arrested in February near the West Bank town of Tulkarem in February 2000 by Israeli intelligence agents who drugged him and threatened to blackmail him.
"When I woke up, Israeli officers presented sexually compromising photographs to me and threatened to show them to my family," he said.
He said that two days before the explosion that killed his cousin he was brought to Israel and his car kept by Israeli agents for three hours.
"They told me to do anything I could to lend it to Ibrahim," he added.
The defense sought in vain to convince the court that there was no direct link between Allan and the explosion and pointed to the fact that he had given himself up to Palestinian police.
There was no indication as to how, if the Israelis were behind the killing, they could have known a day ahead of time that Ibrahim was going to be released from the Palestinian prison.
Bassem Eid, director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, condemned the sentence and the hasty nature of the trial.
"We call on the Palestinian legislative council to legislate to end these death sentences," he told AFP.
"Unfortunately there is a huge support among the Palestinian public in favor of such kinds of punishment," he said, voicing concern that the fact Ben Ouda was convicted as an Israeli collaborator would only harden Palestinian public opinion -- NABLUS, West Bank (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)