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Dahlan: I will participate in elections despite 'secret trial'

May 21, 2014 8:46 P.M. (Updated: May 21, 2014 8:46 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Former Fatah leader Mohammad Dahlan said on Wednesday that he was intent on taking part in upcoming elections despite a criminal conviction by a "secret court" the day before.

Dahlan, a former security chief who has lived outside of Palestine since he was ousted in 2011, was sentenced by a Ramallah court to two years in jail Tuesday for "libel, slander, and defamation."

Dahlan, however, said in a statement that he believes the trial took place in secret, arguing that the case represents a mockery of the law by the president and was politically motivated to exclude him from planned elections.

Dahlan said he was not "surprised" by Abbas's decision to hold a "secret trial" as it "utilizes the respected Palestinian judicial system, and turns it into a tool that serves his needs, concerns, and personal grudges."

Dahlan explained that he learned from "trusted sources" that Abbas "asked his people to arrange a court sentence" for him on April 3rd, and asked them "to leave the timing of the announcement to him personally."

Dahlan said that he took several legal steps to defend himself, pointing out that he has immunity because of his membership in the Palestinian legislative council.

The timing aims to impede his participation in the upcoming Fatah conference and his definite participation in the upcoming legislative and presidential elections, Dahlan argued.

He concluded that any rulings based on the exclusion of himself or any other leader from the Palestinian political scene would lead to a "distrustful dictatorship."

President Abbas dismissed Dahlan from Fatah's central committee in 2011, four years after Hamas accused him of engineering a coup with US support that led to a counter-coup by Hamas in the Gaza Strip in 2007. He had previously been in charge of the security forces in Gaza.
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