PA officer jailed after criticizing Abbas

Officer who criticized PA chairman for attending Peres funeral sentenced to jail, only to be later pardoned by Abbas.

Elad Benari ,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

A Palestinian Authority (PA) Arab officer on Wednesday was sentenced to jail for criticizing PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, only to be later pardoned by Abbas.

A court had originally sentenced the officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Osama Mansour, to jail and ordered him dismissed after he openly criticized Abbas for attending the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, where he was also seen shaking hands with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.

Mansour’s lawyer was quoted by Reuters as having said his client had been sentenced to jail because he had broken a military code of conduct forbidding uniformed officials from expressing political opinions.

But a senior Palestinian official, who declined to be named, later told Reuters, "The president has issued an amnesty decree in favor of Mansour and the officer will be sent into retirement."

The officer had been held in custody since he posted his criticism on Facebook earlier this month.

Abbas had come under criticism for attending Peres’s funeral by his own Fatah movement as well as by his longtime rival, Hamas.

In a Facebook post, Fatah had criticized Abbas’s decision to attend the funeral, but also said that “despite our displeasure with the President’s attendance at Peres’ funeral, we know [he is just as patriotic as we are] and we don’t have all the information.”

Hamas, meanwhile, used Abbas’s avowed appreciation for Peres to portray him as a traitor to his people.