Watchdog group: Disqualify Sakhnin party that fielded terrorist candidate

The Movement for Quality Government on Thursday petitioned the High Court of Justice to disqualify a Sakhnin political party that fielded a candidate for the local council who served six years in jail for helping terrorists perpetrate a suicide bombing and lied to election authorities about her conviction. The candidate, Tagrid Sa'adi, ran as a candidate on the list of the Democratic Front of Sakhnin. She resigned from the list after the Movement for Quality Government (MQG) petitioned the High Court shortly before the election, after learning about the affair in the daily Yediot Aharonot. Now the MQG wants the High Court to disqualify the party for which she ran on the grounds that it knew about her past, knew that she had lied to the elections chairman in Sakhnin, boasted about having her on the list and called her a "prisoner of freedom." Attorneys Eliad Shraga, Zroya Luzon-Meidad and Mika Koner-Karton wrote that they learned from a Channel 1 news report that "Sa'adi's party celebrated her conviction on terrorist charges and that it emphasized in its campaign propaganda its support for her involvement in the murderous terrorist action." Sa'adi was convicted of maintaining contact with a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Hebron. In March 2002, the PFLP activist told her he intended to send a suicide bomber into Israel and asked for her help. Sa'adi was supposed to meet the woman in Jerusalem and drive her to Haifa. At the last minute, Sa'adi said she could not meet the woman because her mother had been hospitalized. The terrorists decided to dispatch the suicide bomber on a terror mission anyway, and she blew herself up on April 12, 2002 in the Mahane Yehuda market, killing six people. According to the Local Authorities Election Law, anyone sentenced to at least three months in jail may not run for office for seven years from the end of the jail term unless he applies for a ruling from the elections chairman that the crime he committed did not involve moral turpitude. Sa'adi did not ask the elections chairman for such a ruling nor indicate that she had finished serving a six-year sentence one year earlier. The petitioners charged that describing Sa'adi as a "prisoner of freedom" "expresses the clear support of the Sakhnin list for her involvement in terrorist activity that undermines the existence of Israel and the fact that it is a democratic state and [the party's behavior] cannot be understood in any other way."