Palestinian MP goes on trial in Israel

The trial of Palestinian member of parliament Husam Khadar has opened at an Israeli military court in the occupied West Bank.

    Khadar is the second Palestinian MP to stand trial in Israel

    Khadar, 42, is a member of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat's Fatah party and was arrested by Israeli occupation troops in the Nablus refugee camp of Balata last March. 
    He is charged with belonging to one of Fatah's armed offshoots, the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, for which he allegedly recruited resistance fighters to carry out anti-occupation attacks. The Palestinian MP says that he was jailed for his "political opinions."

    The trial was adjourned on Wednesday and the next hearing is set for 15 March, 2004.
    Israel also accused him of having acted as intermediary in channelling funds for resistance attacks, notably in the case of a bombing that was apparently thwarted in January 2003.
    He is also suspected of having been aware of attacks being planned and failing to prevent them. 

    Human rights activist
    Khadar is an MP for Nablus and also heads the non-governmental Committee for the Defence of Palestinian Refugees' Rights.
    His family says Khadar underwent "inhuman treatment" while in jail, including "torture and solitary confinement."
    Khadar is the second Palestinian MP to be tried by Israel since the beginning of the Intifada in September 2000.
    Fatah activist Marwan Barghuti has been detained by Israel since April 2002 and faces the death penalty over 26 different counts of murders, charges he categorically denies.
    On trial since September 2002, Barghuti is accused of heading Fatah's military activities and masterminding several anti-occupation attacks.



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