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To stand trial? Abu Tir Photo: Reuters
To stand trial? Abu Tir Photo: Reuters
 
Abu Arfa. Behind bars Photo: Reuters
Abu Arfa. Behind bars Photo: Reuters
 
Mazuz. Rules Photo: Gil Yohanan
Mazuz. Rules Photo: Gil Yohanan
 
Naveh. No bargaining chips Photo: Dudi Vaknin
Naveh. No bargaining chips Photo: Dudi Vaknin
 
 

Hamas officials to stand trial

Israel plans to submit criminal charges against senior Hamas leaders arrested Wednesday night, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz rules; according to Central Command chief, detainees won't be used as bargaining chip

Aviram Zino
Published: 06.29.06, 18:38 / Israel News

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz ordered security forces to carry out criminal, rather than civilian arrests of Hamas senior officials, so that they can be tried according to the Terror-Prevention Act, sources in the Justice Ministry told Ynet Thursday. The detainees launched a hunger strike.

 

Vice Premier Shimon Peres said in an interview to CNN that Israel intended to submit indictments against the Hamas members under arrest.

 

Arrests
Israel detains senior Hamas officials  / Ali Waked
(VIDEO) Hamas government ministers, parliament members and activists arrested by Israeli forces operating in number of West Bank towns in what appears to be an attempt to ‘decapitate’ organization’s leadership; top Hamas members in Gaza go into hiding. Hamas spokesman: Arrests grave precedent, international crime and open declaration of war against Palestinian people
Full story

Peres was asked in the interview why the Hamas top figures were arrested. He answered by saying that their arrest is not arbitrary, and added that they will stand trial and they will be able to defend themselves.

 

Meanwhile, Central Command Chief Yair Naveh said that Hamas members would not be used as bargaining chips, adding that they would be charged.


Some of Hamas members under arrest (Photo: AFP)

 

"The arrested senior figures are tied to financing and aiding terror attacks. Just this year Hamas killed six civilians in Judea and Samaria, kidnapped Nuriel Sasson a few months ago, and carried out shooting attacks in roads in the last few days," Naveh said.

 

Examining arrests

 

Shortly after the establishment of the Hamas government, sources at the Attorney General's Office began consultations on how to act against Hamas on the legal level.

 

In recent days a request was received by the political rank in Jerusalem and the Shin Bet to look into the possibility of arresting senior members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

 

In general there are a number of accepted paths in such a case – the first is an administrative detention, usually carried out when there is a shortage of witnesses, or when there is a desire not to expose intelligence information. The second path is the criminal arrests, requiring a higher level of eye witnesses, beyond reasonable doubt.

 

It was this path that was chosen in accordance with the Terror Prevention Act. The Justice Ministry spokesman explained that all of the arrestees were Hamas officials, which is a terrorist organization, and their membership in a terror organization is a severe violation.

 

Sources in the ministry say the arrests could have taken place two months ago, but the decision to arrest them had to be taken by the political rank, and was therefore only carried out tonight, apparently following recent security developments.

 

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