Olmert: Israel will try 'Jericho Six'

Peres applauds mission; Mazuz examining Israeli court's jurisdiction.

ahmed saadat 298 (photo credit: www.aljazeerah.info)
ahmed saadat 298
(photo credit: www.aljazeerah.info)
Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday that the six Palestinians arrested by the IDF in its Tuesday raid on a Jericho prison will be charged and tried by Israel. Five of the prisoners, including Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestinian head Ahmed Sa'adat, were found guilty in a Palestinian court of the 2001 assassination of Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi, and the sixth, Fuad Shubaki, was found guilty of smuggling weapons into the territories via the Karine A. Rejecting allegations that the raid was politically motivated, Olmert said the timing of the raid "was determined largely by the decision of the US government and the British government to pull out their inspectors from the jail in Jericho." The Shin Bet continued to interrogate the six inmates throughout the day on Wednesday. A Shin Bet source told Israel Radio that the men were arrested according to regulations and without any relation to the agreement under which they were serving time in the Jericho Prison. Vice Premier Shimon Peres applauded the IDF mission, emphasizing that the Palestinians had violated an international agreement in both their maintenance of security and calls to release the prisoners. He said that since the crime was committed on Israeli soil, Israel had jurisdiction over the prisoners. Foreign Minister and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Wednesday morning that the decision on where and how to try the six would be taken based on the results of their interrogation. Attorney General Menahem Mazuz was examining whether the six could in fact be tried in Israel. Legal experts have said that because the inmates were already tried in a Palestinian court, it was possible that the most Israel could do was detain them until the end of their PA-court-dictated sentences.