Tel Aviv court convicts prominent Palestinian uprising leader
An Israeli court on Thursday convicted Palestinian uprising leader Marwan Barghouti of approving attacks that killed five people.
Barghouti was also found guilty of attempted "murder" for his role in an attempted car bombing aatack at a Jerusalem mall and convicted of leading a "terror" organization.
But the court failed to find Barghouti guilty on charges related to other attacks in which 21 Israelis were killed.
The Tel Aviv court said in its verdict that "the defendant most of the time did not have direct contact with the field operatives who carried out the attacks. That connection was maintained through associates close to the defendant. Barghouti was responsible for providing the field units with money and arms via these associates."
Even before the court handed down its ruling, Barghouti stated he would not accept the verdict. He said he does not recognize the authority of the Israeli courts.
Before the verdict was declared, Barghouti was led into the courtroom by three Israeli policemen. "This court is completely illegal," he shouted.
Israel accused Barghouti of planning attacks on Israelis and dispatching armed activists to carry them out. It said he was a leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades.
Mohammed Barakeh, an Israeli Arab lawmaker said after leaving the Tel Aviv court house that Barghouti was given a political trial. "Barghouti will be freed, and those who imprisoned him will eventually have to hold negotiations with him because he is a leader of the Palestinian people." (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)