Barghouti to appear in Tel Aviv court

Sept. 5, 2002 at 3:07 AM
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TEL AVIV, Israel, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Marwan Barghouti, the head of the Fatah-Tanzim militant group in the West Bank who was arrested by Israel in April, is to appear in the Tel Aviv District Court Thursday to hear the reading of Israel's indictment against him.

Israel plans to charge Barghouti with murder and soliciting murder and membership on behalf of a terrorist organization, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

Israel charges that Barghouti ran Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement and also Fatah's armed wing, the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Al Aqsa has carried out suicide bombings and other attacks that have killed scores of Israelis in almost two years of uprisings.

Prosecutors charge that Barghouti has initiated and headed intensive terrorist activities against Israeli targets since the beginning of al Aqsa's uprising, and say their charges are based on direct evidence from senior Fatah activists.

However, Barghouti has said he will contest the court's right to sit in judgment of him, according to Haaretz.

Israeli soldiers arrested Barghouti on April 15 during an Israeli incursion into the West Bank in response to Palestinian suicide attacks on Israeli targets.

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