Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Ahmed Sa’adat, seized during an Israel Defense Forces raid on a Palestinian jail last March, was indicted in a military court Sunday on 19 terrorism-related charges, although the Israeli Attorney General ruled that there was no evidence on which to indict the popular Palestinian leftist leader.
Saadat was charged with a series of crimes, including belonging to an outlawed group, overseeing the PFLP’s military operations, incitement and arms dealing.
According to the charge sheet, Saadat served for 4.5 years as secretary general of the PFLP, during which the organization carried out a number of terror attacks that killed soldiers and civilians, including Ze’evi. The prosecution claims that Saadat was in touch with PFLP militants and discussed the group’s activities, including Ze’evi’s murder, but was not directly linked to the incident.
Saadat was kidnapped along with five other Palestinians in a 10-hour IDF raid on a Palestinian jail on March 14 in the West Bank town of Jericho. Israel launched the operation after the new Hamas-led Palestinian government said it would release the men.
Four other prisoners captured with Saadat are being tried by Israel for the killing. But Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has ruled there was not enough evidence to indict Saadat in the killing.
Saadat spent more than three years in the Jericho prison based on Israeli accusations he had masterminded the assassination. Saadat was named leader of the military group days before Ze’evi was shot in a Jerusalem hotel.
A sixth suspect snatched from the Jericho prison, Fuad Shubaki, the alleged financier of illegal weapons ship Karine A to the Palestinians several years ago, is also being tried in a military court.
Saadat and the other suspects had been supervised in the Jericho prison by American and British wardens under the terms of a 2002 arrangement, but the American and Israeli guards pulled out of the jail just one hour before Israeli forces invaded with full force, leading to accusations of collusion between the Americans, British and Israelis to kidnap Sa’adat.