PLC member sentenced to 7 years

Hussam Khader convicted on three terror-related charges in Military Court.

court gavel 88 (photo credit: )
court gavel 88
(photo credit: )
Hussam Khader, 44, a Palestinian Legislative Council member from the Balata refugee camp, was sentenced to seven years in prison on three terror-related charges by the Samaria Military Court on Sunday. He also was given a 12-month suspended sentence that will be enforced for five years subsequent to his prison term. Khader was charged with providing service to an illegal organization, providing tools to commit a crime and failing to prevent a crime. Khader was arrested in March 2003, and at the time of his arrest, was suspected by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) of obtaining large sums of money from Iran and Hizbullah, which he used to fund Fatah Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade cell activities, including the purchase of weapons. Security forces thwarted two attempted attacks by cell members to infiltrate Har Bracha; cell members were to gun down Israeli residents and shoot at soldiers deployed at the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus. Details on the indictment sheet revealed that on several occasions, Khader transferred tens of thousands of shekels and Jordanian dinars to cell members who used the funds to purchase weapons and costs for the planned attacks. Khader, a PLC member since 1996, was considered a close confidant of former West Bank Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti. At his trial, he admitted to being one of the 20 PLC members who signed a November 1999 letter accusing Yasser Arafat of being directly responsible for the corruption that raged in the Palestinian Authority. Under cross-examination, Khader retracted confessions he made to Shin Bet investigators and attempted to twist the meaning of the words he told them. He denied giving financial support to Amir Sawalma, another Balata resident who confessed to investigators that Khader had given him money to fund terror activities. Khader also denied that senior terror leaders, such as Nasser Awis and Majid al- Masri, were anything other than neighbors and good friends. Masri, who was sentenced to 10 life sentences by a military court, testified on Khader's behalf. He told the court that he never claimed that Khader was a member of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, and he said original statements he made were forced upon him after he was deprived of sleep.