RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Ma’an News Network launched on Tuesday the film “Marwan” telling the story of Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti, who is now entering his 16th year in Israeli prison.
Tuesday night's screening of "Marwan"
The film was produced by the Ma’an News Network and explores the life of the imprisoned Palestinian leader.
After being detained in 2002, Barghouti was handed five consecutive life sentences after Israeli authorities charged him with the founding of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a group Israel designates as a “terrorist” organization, and being involved in several murders during the Second Intifada -- charges he has consistently denied.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah addresses the audience at the screening
He has remained politically active from behind bars, including assisting in the drafting of the Mecca agreement in 2007, which paved the way for a unity government aimed at ending internal political conflict in the besieged Gaza Strip.
The opening of the film was attended by Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, PA ministers, members of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, members of Fatah’s central committee, of which Barghouthi remains a member, several international ambassadors to Palestine, and heads of PA security services.
In all, more than 1,000 people were estimated to have attended the event.
Barghouti remains one of the most popular politicians in Palestine, receiving a wide range of support among various political factions. Many see him as an indispensable component of hope for obtaining a viable peace process and a renewed unification of the Palestinian political landscape.
As a result of the widespread respect held for Barghouti, the politician was named a strong contender to replace PA President Mahmoud Abbas, as a 2016 poll
revealed Barghouti having more popular support than any other politician as a potential presidential replacement, and the only Fatah member to receive more support than Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh.
Writing in The Guardian in 2015, Barghouthi expressed his commitment to the Palestinian national movement: “I joined the struggle for Palestinian independence 40 years ago, and was first imprisoned at the age of 15. This did not prevent me from pleading for peace in accordance with international law and UN resolutions. … I have spent 20 years of my life in Israeli jails, including the past 13 years, and these years have made me even more certain of this unalterable truth: the last day of occupation will be the first day of peace.”
Israeli forces routinely detain Palestinians for their political opinions in an attempt to disrupt and suppress the Palestinian political process. The several thousand Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons are being held in contravention to international law and despite Israeli court rulings stating that no person can be detained for their political views, according to the Palestinian prisoners' rights group Addameer.