PA sentences 'collaborator' to death

Emad Saad, 25, a former Palestinian security officer sentenced to death by firing squad.

Abbas AP 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Abbas AP 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
It is likely that PA President Mahmoud Abbas will approve a death sentence imposed on a Palestinian policeman convicted of "collaboration" with Israel, say Palestinian Authority officials. The policeman, Imad Sa'ad, 25, was sentenced to death Monday by a PA military court in Hebron on charges of tipping Israel as to the whereabouts of four Palestinian gunmen, who were later killed by the IDF. The last time a Palestinian was sentenced to death on similar charges was in 2004. However, the execution was never carried out. Earlier this month, a Palestinian military court in Jenin sentenced another policeman, Thaer Rmailat, to death after finding him guilty of the murder of one of his colleagues. The sentencing has yet to be approved by Abbas. If executed, Sa'ad would become the first Palestinian to face a firing squad on charges of "collaboration" with Israel since 2001. Ahmed Abu Dayyeh, president of the three-panel court, said the defendant was part of a network of spies that operated in the Hebron area. He said the alleged collaborator, who lives in the town of Yatta, was responsible for the killing of four Palestinians, the detention of several others and the demolition of a house. The two other judges, Nu'man Fanoun and Fadi Hijazi, supported the death sentence against the policeman, who, according to his relatives, was arrested in August 2007. The PA military prosecutors told the court that the policeman's uncle, Muhammad Sa'ad, had fled to Israel after his role in the network was revealed during the interrogation. Sa'ad did not deny the charges against him. His lawyer, Zein al-Din Waswas, appealed for leniency, saying the defendant was the sole breadwinner of his family. The PA military commander of the Hebron area, Gen. Samih Saifi, expressed satisfaction with the verdict, saying he hoped it would serve as a "deterrent to all those who betray their people and homeland." He also called on all "collaborators" to turn themselves in to the PA security forces in the West Bank or face the risk of being sentenced to death. According to Palestinian human rights groups, more than 70 Palestinians have been sentenced to death since the establishment of the PA in 2005. However, fewer than 10 have been executed. Many others either were murdered while in PA detention or have gone missing. Others have had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment.