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Abbas Lifts Parliamentary Immunity From Rival’s Allies, Strengthening Grip on Power

Grant Rumley
21st December 2016 - Quoted by The Tower

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has stripped five lawmakers of their parliamentary immunity, a move likely to consolidate his rule following his unanimous reelection as the head of the Fatah Party, Reuters reported Monday. Three of the parliamentarians sought sanctuary in the Ramallah offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross before being escorted out of the building by police officers.

Abbas’ chief political rival, Mohammed Dahlan, was sentenced in absentia to three years in prison for graft last Wednesday, a decision that the exiled Dahlan said was political and “ordered by Abbas.” According to Reuters, “All five of those who had their immunity from prosecution revoked are regarded as allies or associates of Dahlan.” Many of Dahlan’s supporters have been purged from Fatah or arrested and were excluded from the recent Fatah Congress that re-elected Abbas as party chief.

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Grant Rumley, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, warned in May that the West’s refusal to challenge the growing corruption and autocratic rule under Abbas “could have a devastating effect on the long- prospects for a viable Palestinian state.”

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Tags

abbas, fatah, palestinian-politics