Marwan Barghouti Convicted of Murder
(May 19, 2004)
A Tel Aviv judge convicted former Fatah-Tanzim militia commander Marwan Barghouti, 43, on May 20, 2004, of murder for his involvement three terrorist attacks in Israel that killed five people. He was acquitted for 33 other murders due to lack of evidence of his direct involvement in those crimes.
Barghouti was also convicted of a charge of attempted murder, membership in a terror organization and conspiring to commit a crime. The prosecution was seeking to sentence him to five consecutive life terms. The court said in its verdict that "Barghouti was responsible for providing the field units with money and arms ." The judges said that the attacks were sometimes "based on instructions" from Yasser Arafat.
The court found Barghouti responsible for a June 2001 attack in Maale Adumim, in which a Greek monk was murdered, a January 2002 terror attack on a gas station in Givat Zeev, a March 2002 attack at Tel Aviv's Seafood Market restaurant, in which three people were murdered, and a car bomb attack in Jerusalem.
Marwan Barghouti refused a lawyer and represented himself since his trial began in August 2002. He claims that he refuses to recognize Israel's jurisdiction over him.
Prior to the verdict's announcement, security was beefed up in the courtroom as Barghouti's supporters from the European parliament were expected to show up for the ruling. After leaving the courthouse, Arab Knesset member Mohammed Barakesh (Hadash/Communist Party) said, "Barghouti will be released, and those who imprisoned him will eventually have to hold negotiations with him because he is the leader of the Palestinian people." Barghouti said, "I am a proud Palestinian leader and I oppose the Israeli occupation, it is my duty to do so. What do you want? For us to cooperate with the Israeli occupiers? We will never live doing that."
David Saranga, a spokeman for Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said, "The five people who were killed in these attacks that he ordered will not return to life. The widows and orphans will not get their loved ones back. But at least justice was done.
On June 6, 2004, Barghouti was sentenced to five consecutive life terms and 40 years.
Source: Roni Singer, "Barghouti convicted in deaths of five people," May 20, 2004, Maariv International; "Palestinian terrorist Barghouti found guilty of murdering five civilians," May 20, 2004, Israel Insider.