A former PA security commander was sentenced on Sunday to 15 years in prison with hard labor after being convicted of embezzlement.

Col. Rashid Abu Shbak, who headed the PA ’s Protective Security Force in the Gaza Strip between 2002 and 2006, was also fined $930,000.

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Abu Shbak, who has been living in Egypt for the past seven years, was sentenced in absentia by a Palestinian court in Ramallah.

The court found Abu Shbak guilty of embezzling nearly 1 million dollars during the years he served as commander of the Preventive Security Force.

The court consisted of three judges headed by Eyad Tayem.

The other two judges were Mohamed al Jabsheh and Bilal Abu Hantash.

Abu Shbak served as deputy commander of the Preventive Security Force for many years – under ousted Fatah operative Muhammad Dahlan who was expelled from Fatah after falling out with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

In June 2012, the same court sentenced Muhammad Rashid, a former advisor to Yasser Arafat, to 15 years in prison with hard labor and a $15m. fine after convicting him of corruption and embezzlement. Rashid too was sentenced in absentia.

Rafik Natsheh, head of the PA ’s Anti-Corruption Commission, announced last month that his group has succeeded in retrieving tens of millions of dollars that were stolen by former Palestinian officials over the past two decades.

He said that his commission would continue to pursue anyone involved in financial corruption regardless of his job or status.

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