World Bulletin / News Desk
An exiled rival to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was sentenced in absentia to three years in prison Wednesday on corruption charges, his lawyer said.
A lawyer for Mohammed Dahlan condemned the sentencing as part of Abbas's attempts to sideline political rivals.
Dahlan 55, "was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay back $16 million (15 million euros)", lawyer Salameh Halaseh told AFP by phone.
Halaseh said the defence had only been informed of the hearing, held in an anti-corruption court in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, on Tuesday.
Sevag Torossian, another lawyer for Dahlan, called the conviction a "cleansing exercise" for Abbas, who has sought to sideline perceived rivals in Fatah.
Dahlan, who has urged 81-year-old Abbas to step down, is believed to have the support of a number of Arab countries.
The conviction came two days after Abbas lifted the immunity of five members of the Palestinian parliament, including Dahlan, opening them up to prosecution.
Torossian said the case had been going on for years but the charges were struck down in 2015 when a Palestinian court ruled he was immune from prosecution as a parliamentarian.
But last month, the Palestinian Constitutional Court ruled that Abbas has the authority to revoke immunity without the consent of parliament.
afpLast Mod: 14 Aralık 2016, 20:15