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Campaign launched for freedom of Palestinian political prisoner Ahmad Saadat

A MAJOR campaign for the freedom of Palestinian political prisoner Ahmad Saadat was announced on Christmas Day to mark the 13th anniversary of his sentencing.

The Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network urged supporters of Palestine to take solidarity actions from January 15 to 22 to build international pressure for the 68-year-old’s release.

“From the prisons of the Israeli occupation, Ahmad Saadat continues to play a major role as a leader of the Palestinian resistance. 

“Alongside his 5,000 fellow Palestinian political prisoners, he organises collective hunger strikes, declarations of solidarity and stands firm, with resolute commitment, to the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea,” the campaigning group said in a statement.

Mr Saadat was sentenced to 30 years in prison for a number of “political offences,” including membership of a banned organisation, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist-Leninist nationalist organisation of which he was general secretary.

He was also indicted for a speech he made following the assassination of his predecessor Ali Abu Mustafa by Israel during the Second Intifada, the Palestinian uprising of the early 2000s.

Mr Saadat was reportedly kidnapped after being lured to a meeting with the Palestinian Authority’s then security chief Tawfiq Tirawi in 2002. He was taken to Yasser Arafat’s compound in Ramallah and then held in Jericho prison for four years following a deal struck with Israel, Britain and the US.

In January 2006, Mr Saadat was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council and the newly elected Hamas government promised to release him. But on March 14 2006, just days before Hamas was due to assume office, Israeli soldiers stormed the Jericho prison and took Mr Saadat and five others to Israeli military jails.

Samidoun said the lengthy sentence imposed on Mr Saadat by an Israeli military court in 2008 “was intended as a mechanism for imprisoning the resistance and the commitment of the Palestinian people to seek freedom, justice, liberation and self-determination.”

Supporting his freedom “is part of confronting the role of the imperialist powers in his imprisonment and in the zionist colonisation of Palestine,” Samidoun said.

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