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      PA Woman Convicted of Treason

      A woman has for the first time been convicted of treason by a court in the Palestinian Authority. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
      By Hana Levi Julian
      First Publish: 6/15/2009, 4:47 PM

      (illustrative)

      A Palestinian Authority military court on Monday for the first time convicted a woman on charges of treason.

      Taghrid Abu-Taybeh was accused of contact with the enemy and treason for passing information to Israel about terrorists in the area. The 22-year-old resident of the Balata neighborhood of Shechem pleaded guilty as charged, according to a court statement.

      Abu-Taybeh said she agreed to help Israel out of desperation after her ex-husband forced her into prostitution, leaving her a social pariah with nowhere else to turn.

      She was sentenced to 20 years in prison with hard labor. Under PA law, Abu Taybeh does not have the right to appeal her conviction, a situation slammed by human rights groups. Male "collaborators" are often sentenced to death.

      Last week a 15-year-old PA Arab boy from the village of Hijjah, near Kalkilya, was murdered by relatives who suspected him of helping Israel. The boy, Raed Sawalha, came under suspicion after neighbors claimed to have seen him talking to a Border Police officer.

      The primary suspect in the brutal killing is the boy's uncle. He and several other relatives have been detained by PA security forces and are currently under investigation.

      PA Tortures and Kills Hamas Man
      The PA did not limit itself to convicting young women on Monday; a Hamas member arrested last week by PA police was found dead the same day. Hamas officials accused Fatah of torturing and then murdering 33-year-old Haitham Abdallah Amru.

      Hamas and Fatah have clashed several times in the past few weeks, leaving four Hamas members and an equal number of PA police officers dead. Amru, 33, from the village of Upper Beit al-Roush, southwest of Hebron, died while in the custody of the General Intelligence Service (GIS).
       
      According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Amru's father was denied the right to see his son on Sunday when he went to the detention center where he was being held by the PA General Intelligence Service (GIS).  At midnight, Amru was transferred to Hevron Hospital in critical condition, and two hours later, he was pronounced dead. The family was informed of his death in the morning by notable members of his clan.
       
      Security forces claimed Amru had attempted to escape, and in doing so jumped down from a second floor, falling to his knees and abdomen, and suffering a hemorrhage in the lungs that led to his death. However, eyewitnesses told the family that they had seen Amru immediately after his arrival at the hospital, and had noticed signs of torture on his face. 
       
      A PCHR field worker, who saw the body before burial, reported that he noticed blue signs on the back,  the legs, the feet and the left hand; large blue spots on the thighs; and other signs of torture.
       
      Amru was a board member of the Islamic Charity Corporation, and worked as a nurse in two medical centers of the Ministry of Health in Upper Beit al-Roush village and the neighboring Deir al-'Asal village.  He was married and had 3 children.