“All that I stand for stems from my faith in the right of my people to be free”
Hussam Khader was sentenced by an Israeli Military Court on 27 November 2005 to 7 years imprisonment after prolonged 2½ year detention and trial. He is the 2nd elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (the Palestinian Parliament) to be imprisoned – Marwan Barghouti was convicted in 2004.
In a report on Khader’s trial, issued on 19 October 2005, the Inter-Parliamentary Union concluded that “Mr Khader has not, since his arrest 2½ years ago, had the benefit of compliance with the international rules of fair trial”. The Geneva-based IPU, an international organization of Parliaments of sovereign States representing 130 parliaments worldwide, including the Israeli Knesset, has monitored Khader's case for over 2 years and have consistently expressed “deep concern that the prosecution case essentially rests on the statement of one person, who himself does not appear to be a credible witness”. This witness was himself tortured and claimed throughout the trial that he had been pressurized into giving evidence against Khader. Indeed, the IPU report notes that:
“[The principal prosecution witness] was not arrested until several weeks after Mr. Khader. His statements implicating Mr. Khader, which form the basis of the charges against him, therefore did not yet exist at the time of Mr. Khader’s arrest”.
Khader was convicted despite confirmation in Court by Israeli Intelligence Officers admitting under questioning by Khader’s lawyer, that some evidence and witness statements against Khader had been fabricated. Despite this, Khader’s lawyer was throughout the trial denied access to evidence classified as 'secret'. In addition, he was denied the opportunity throughout the trial to cross-examine the single witness on whose testimony the case against Khader is based.
The IPU Report also notes a number of periods during his detention when Hussam Khader "disappeared" from the sight of his family and his lawyer, who were not informed of his whereabouts, in clear violation of international law. The report quotes Khader describing the torture and inhuman treatment he suffered during his intensive interrogation and prolonged detention, and calls for these allegations “to be the subject of an impartial investigation”.
Throughout his trial, Khader denied the charges against him and insisted they had been fabricated in an attempt to silence him for his political beliefs his comments on corruption and the lack of transparency in the Palestinian Authority, and his staunch support for a just solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees and their right of return, as enshrined in UN Resolution 194. The IPU Report notes:
“[Mr. Khader] is known for his involvement in the issue of refugees’ rights … [Mr Khader] also explains that he was deeply involved in combating corruption within the Palestinian Authority, a factor to be of importance in the context of his trial since he suspects his arrest and the charges brought against him to be … in part due to a "settling of scores" within the [Palestinian] Authority”.
48 PARLIAMENTARIANS FROM AROUND THE WORLD HAVE CALLED FOR HUSSAM KHADER’S IMMEDIATE RELEASE