Jeruaslem's Mufti to face Israeli charges

By JOSHUA BRILLIANT, United Press International   |   Jan. 10, 2002 at 6:27 PM
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TEL AVIV, Israel, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Israel's attorney general will press criminal charges against the top Muslim cleric in Jerusalem, Sheikh Ikremeh Sabri, for allegedly breaking the national law against terror.

Charges filed focus on an alleged illegal meeting and alleged sedition, Yaakov Galanty, justice ministry spokesman, told United Press International Thursday.

The mufti is a Palestine Liberation Organization appointee. In Islamic law, a mufti is an attorney who writes opinions on legal subjects to help judges decide cases.

Charges have not yet been filed, an anonymous source told UPI. It's not clear what kind of penalty Sabri might face. However, police investigated a meeting that Sabri allegedly held in Lebanon with Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.

Also, Sabri has allegedly publicly called for the destruction of the United States, Great Britain and Israel at least two times, the source said.

Israel has accused Ahmad Jamus of sedition for allegedly calling for attacks on Jews in public sermons at the Al-Aksa mosque in Jerusalem, Galanty said. Jamus is one of Sabri's deputies, he said.

The decision comes as Ariel Sharon, Israeli prime minister, made plans to convene the cabinet to re-assess its attitude toward the Palestinian Authority. Members of the group last week were caught attempting to smuggle $10 million in rockets, anti-tank missiles, mines and explosives.

In addition, Sharon said the West Bank town of Ramallah will remain closed until Yasser Arafat, Palestinian leader, arrests Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leaders who allegedly ordered the October assassination of Israel's tourism minister. Assassins are said to have fled to Ramallah.

Neither Sabri, nor the PLO-appointed political commissioner for Jerusalem affairs could be reached for comment about the charges.

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