Secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) threatened Wednesday to begin an open hunger strike in protest of being denied family visits by Israel's prison service.
The left-leaning party's Ahmad Saadat is serving a 30-year sentence in Israeli jails and has been deprived of family visits for two years, lawyer Ashraf al-Khatib of the Palestinian committee of prisoners' affairs said.
Israel's Shin Bet intelligence agency is expected to extend a current ban on visits for six more months from June 18.
Currently held in Gilboa prison, Saadat has been in Israeli custody since March 2006, when Israeli forces detained him from a Palestinian Authority jail in Jericho and put him on trial for allegedly masterminding the assassination of Israeli Minister of Tourism Rehavam Zeevi in 2001.
He was charged in 2008 for heading an "illegal terrorist organization."
The majority of Palestinian political organizations are considered illegal by Israel, including those that make up the PLO, and association with such parties is often used as grounds for imprisonment, according to prisoners' rights group Addameer. Saadat was appointed secretary-general in October 2001 after his predecessor was assassinated in his Ramallah office by Israeli forces. more