The father of a Canadian businessman was detained for nine hours by Palestinian Authority security forces after calling for the ouster of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Monday.
Khaled Al Sabawi said his 68-year-old father, Mohammed Al Sabawi, was arrested after PA police accused him of insulting Abbas when he refused to allow PA security forces to use his roof during the recent visit by French President Francois Hollande. After refusing them access, Mohammed reportedly called for Abbas' "downfall".
Khaled is the founder and president of MENA Geothermal, a company which provides employment for hundreds of residents of the PA stronghold of Ramallah. His father is president of the Ahlia Insurance Group, which is also based in Ramallah.
Describing the arrest on his Facebook page, the younger Al Sabawi decried how police "showed up with 7 men, armed to the teeth, at our office building ...and forced us to the Police station. When we arrived we discovered that there WAS NO COMPLAINT. The PA police then brought someone to give a fabricated affidavit. We gave an affidavit denying the fabrication. Then they PA detained my a father and wouldn't let him leave, which is completely ILLEGAL."
In another post, he accused PA authorities of trying to "humiliate" his father, and condemned "the unelected, cynical, and morally bankrupt cronies in Mahmoud Abbas's office".
Following his father's release, the Canadian entrepreneur mocked the PA leader as childish, saying: "Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies are sending a message to the world: The 'child' in Mahmoud Abbas's psychology is alive and well. Hurt his feelings and he will arrest you. Sigmund Freud would have had a field day with this."
The Globe and Mail quoted Major-General Adnan Damiri, a spokesman for the PA security forces, as denying that Mohammed was "arrested for his political views", but admitting that it is indeed illegal "to curse the Palestinian president."