Three leading officers of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement were imprisoned Wednesday after the Beirut military court found them guilty of "insulting the reputation of the Lebanese army."
Fatah's chief officer in Lebanon, Sultan Abul Aynain, received a two year sentence in absentia, while the other two, Taha Abdel Qader, known as Khaled Aref, and Taysir Qaddura, were in court to hear their sentences of nine months each.
The court cleared all three of the charge of collaborating with the Israeli enemy, for lack of proof.
Sultan Abul Aynain has been holed up in the Rashidiyeh refugee camp near the southern city of Tyre since he was sentenced to death in his absence in October for "setting up an armed gang with the aim of committing crimes against civilians and their goods, and damaging the Lebanese state and its authority."
Aref, Fatah's commander in the port city of Sidon, was arrested in November, and his deputy, Qaddura, Fatah's security officer for the region, was detained in the Ain al-Helweh refugee camp in January.
Lebanese Daily Star said the Lebanese authorities started taking legal action against Arafat supporters after Fatah announced in October, after several years of decline, that it was to offer military training to the Palestinians there .
The United Nations puts the number of Palestinians in Lebanon at some 367,000, nearly half of them in 12 camps scattered across the country, the Lebanese daily added.
The Lebanese army monitors all those entering or leaving the big camps in the south of the country – (Agencies)
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