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Palestinian Legal System Shut in Protest - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip, AP -Palestinian judges and lawyers shut down the Palestinian legal system Saturday until further notice to protest recent attacks against senior legal officials.

The shutdown was announced in a statement signed by judges and lawyers.

Earlier in the week in Gaza City, an explosive device was detonated outside the home of former Palestinian Justice Minister Zuhair Sourani, while a separate blast damaged a wall outside the home of the Palestinian Authority”s attorney general in the city, Hussein Abu Assi.

Both men were appointed by parliament to investigate widespread corruption in the Palestinian Authority.

Sourani resigned as overseer of judges on Saturday, saying the Palestinian Authority was not doing enough to protect him and his colleagues.

The judicial shutdown will continue until &#34the Palestinian Authority puts an end to the serious deterioration that has undermined the Palestinian legal system and its personnel and has escalated in the past few days, especially after the attacks,&#34 the statement said.

The action dealt a blow to efforts by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to clamp down on the lawlessness that has grown in the Palestinian areas during almost five years of fighting with Israel.

The authority of Palestinian security and legal institutions has greatly diminished as the influence of militants has grown in the streets of Gaza and the West Bank. In some instances, Palestinian militants have kidnapped Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel from courthouses during trials and killed them.

The officials also protested what they said is the lack of willingness of authorities to implement court decisions, due to international pressure.

Palestinian legal officials in the Gaza Strip and West Bank on Sunday planned to discuss further steps to force the Palestinian Authority to protect them, the statement said.

No suspects have been arrested in the attacks on the Sourani and Assi homes. Sourani has said he and Palestinian security know who is responsible.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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