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Photo: Ofer Amram
Al-Sayad at court – going to jail for a long time
Photo: Ofer Amram
Terror mastermind gets 35 life sentences
Abbas al-Sayad, who headed Hamas' military wing in Tul Karem, also sentenced to 50-year prison term after being convicted of initiating, planning suicide bombings at Park Hotel, Netanya mall, which claimed lives of 35 people
The Tel Aviv District Court on Tuesday sentenced Hamas terrorist Abbas al-Sayad to 35 consecutive life sentences and an additional 50-year prison term after he was convicted of initiating and planning the terror attack at Netanya's Park Hotel.

 

The suicide bombing claimed the lives of 30 people and wounded scores who attended a Passover Eve dinner in March 2002.

 

The attack prompted the IDF to launch Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank and take over the Muqata compound in Ramallah, where former Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat was staying at the time.

 

Al-Sayad, who headed Hamas’ military wing in the West Bank town of Tul Karem, was also convicted of planning the terror attack at Netanya's Sharon Mall in May 2001, in which five people were murdered and dozens were wounded.

 

In addition to the life sentences, al-Sayad was also sentenced to 30 years in prison for attempted murder and causing serious injuries and to another 20 years in prison for membership in a terror organization.

 

The three judges wrote that al-Sayad was responsible for the murder of 35 innocent people who lost their lives in tragic circumstances in two horrifying suicide bombings, with their only sin being the fact they were Israeli and Jewish.

 

"The survivors' testimonies revealed a shocking picture of entire families annihilated in the Park Hotel terror attack, while the survivors
were left scarred and injured for life, both in their bodies and souls," the judges said.

 

"Among the casualties were many elderly people, who miraculously survived the Holocaust and immigrated to Israel in order to lead a safe life in the land of the Jews, but were brutally murdered by the accused and his partners. Some were young people and children who lost their family members and remained pained, injured and handicapped," the judges added.

 

'Punishment's severity due to leadership status'

 

Following the verdict, prosecutor Zmira Goldner asked the court for a severe punishment reflecting the severity of the offences, namely 35 consecutive life sentences and additional jail time for membership in a terror organization and the wounding of scores of people.

 

The judges accepted her request Tuesday and said that "considering the severity of the acts, their circumstances, their cruelty and their harsh consequences, we did not find any special reasons not to impose consecutive life sentences for the murder of each and every one of the victims that the accused was convicted of killing."

 

The judges added that al-Sayad's "responsibility and punishment as a terror organization leader, who initiated, planned and was personally responsible for sending the suicide bombers cannot be lighter and lesser than those of his subordinates, who were sentenced to consecutive life sentences."

 

"His responsibility, and as a result also his punishment, are heavier due to his status and authority as a leader," they said.

 

"Imposing consecutive life sentences is enough to provide an appropriate expression of the sanctity of life, the severity and horror of the acts of the accused, who mercilessly murdered innocent citizens for no fault of their own and without any distinction," the judges concluded

 

The prosecutor said in response to the sentence that "the sever punishment imposed on al-Sayad reflects the severity of his acts."

 

Attorney Nir Mamon, who represented al-Sayad on behalf of the Public Defender’s Office, said that he believes the conviction and the punishment should be appealed to the Supreme Court and that a decision on the matter would be made in the next few weeks.

 

He claimed that al-Sayad suffered from serious physical violence for many hours during his interrogation and that his rights were violated during the interrogations and the trial.

 

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