Palestinian MP continues parliamentary sit-in protest against arrest

Palestinian MP continues parliamentary sit-in protest against arrest
Najat Abu Bakr should have parliamentary immunity from arrest, but that has not stopped the Palestinian attorney general issuing an warrant against her after she accused a minister of corruption.
2 min read
03 March, 2016
The Palestinian parliament has been empty since a Hamas-Fatah rift split the territories [AFP]

A Palestinian lawmaker has launched a protest in the authority's parliament, a human rights group has said.

Najat Abu Bakr began her sit in at the empty parliament building on 25 February when the Palestinian Authority's attorney general issued an arrest warrant against her.

Abu Bakr, who is part of Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, had accused a member of the Palestinian cabinet - without mentioning a name - of being corrupt leading to the arrest warrant being issued. 

She said the minister had used public funds to invest in a private water project, and that she was entitled to free expression and parliamentary immunity according to Palestinian Basic Law, al-Jazeera reported.

As an MP, Abu Bakr has parliamentary immunity and this has led human rights' groups to describe the attorney general's move as "illegal".

"The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights stresses that the arrest warrant was issued in violation of... the Palestinian Basic Law and calls upon the attorney general to respect the law and revoke the arrest warrant," the group said in a statement.

It said that Abu Bakr has been sitting in the parliament in Ramallah for over a week to protest against the illegal arrest warrant.

She told AFP that she would continue the protest for "as long as necessary".

The parliament hasn't been used since one year after the 2006 elections, when Hamas won a majority leading to its suspension.

Hamas seized the Gaza Strip and drove Fatah representatives out of the besieged land strip.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank, there has been a campaign against Hamas members and MPs by Israeli and Palestinian forces.

Agencies contributed to this report.