Barghouti held till end of proceedings
By Zvi Harel
[Ha'aretz, 4 January 2003]:
A Tel Aviv District Court Judge yesterday remanded Marwan Barghouti into custody until the end of judiciary proceedings. Barghouti, who was leader of Tanzim in the West Bank before being arrested, is charged with premeditated murder, aiding and soliciting murder, attempted murder, and membership in a terrorist organization.
Barghouti, who is disputing the court's authority to try him, was taken out of the courtroom following a scuffle with the border patrolmen who escorted him. He repeatedly raised his handcuffed hands marking the victory sign, and the border patrolmen forced his arms down each time and then knocked him to the ground. When he was brought back to the courtroom, Barghouti refused to attend the session, claiming he had been beaten and humiliated. Tel Aviv District Court Judge Zvi Gurfinkel, who ordered the remand, consented.
As he was escorted out of the courtroom, Barghouti shouted at the judge: "you're like your officers, who kill women and children."
When Barghouti was first brought into the courtroom, relatives of terrorist victims shouted at him "murderer, murderer, you murdered our children."
Before leaving, Barghouti instructed his attorneys to refuse answering the prosecutor's request to remand him until the end of his trial.
Prosecutor Dvora Chen said that Barghouti and his field commanders recruited activists to terrorist organizations. According to the charges, Barghouti worked for Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. He is also charged with getting $20,000 from Arafat, which he gave to one of his field commanders to finance training for activists.
Barghouti managed to obtain weapons for his men and called for acts of vengeance against Israel in his speeches, the charges say.
The judge pointed out that the prosecution presented a body of evidence to substantiate the charges, consisting mainly of testimonies of witnesses who had been in the defendant's command. In addition, documents incriminating Barghouti were found during Operation Defensive Shield, the prosecutor said.
Barghouti asked his lawyers to represent him only to determine whether the court is authorized to try him. Judge Gurfinkel said yesterday that he had already ruled on that issue three weeks ago. He wrote that the defendant has a right to choose this path after receiving "the best legal counsel" from his three lawyers.