Palestinian officer pardoned after sent to prison for criticizing Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has pardoned a security officer after he was sent to prison by a court for criticizing Abbas for attending the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Lt. Col. Osama Mansour, a Palestinian security officer, was sent to prison for a year by a Ramallah court that ordered he be stripped of his military rank for writing a post on social media criticizing Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas for attending the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Abbas subsequently pardoned him. A senior Palestinian official said Abbas had issued an amnesty for Mansour and the officer will be sent into retirement.

Mansour was charged with “disobeying orders” after being detained earlier this month for publishing a post on his Facebook page asking Abbas to reconsider his decision to attend Peres’ funeral.

Mansour served as the director of public relations and media at the Palestinian military liaison, a unit with the Palestinian security forces responsible for coordinating security with Israel.

In his post, Mansour, highlighted the irony of Abbas offering his condolences for Peres — “the founder of settlement activity” — in spite of Abbas’ repeated condemnation of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria.

“Whether (Peres) was a terrorist or not, whether he invented of the policy of breaking bones during the First Intifada or not, whether he was involved in the Jenin refugee camp massacre, the massacre of the al-Yasmin neighborhood in Nablus, or the massacre of Qana — who is he that you are going to partake in his funeral while the majority of the people you represent oppose him?” the post read. “There should be no personal or friendly relations with the occupier, as long as they continue with their arrogant policies against our people.”

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Repeated Violations of Human Rights

The PA has come under fire for cracking down on Palestinians criticizing it.

In August, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report exposing Palestinian security forces’ detention of activists and rap musicians for criticizing the PA’s security cooperation with Israel, while also accusing the government of corruption.

The group stated that the recent violations of freedom of speech represented a larger pattern by the PA which has been documented by the group over the past five years.

“At a time when many Palestinians are critical of their leaders, the crackdowns have a chilling effect on public debate in the traditional news media and on social media,” the report read.

By: World Israel News Staff