A Palestinian engineer has been charged with terrorism by an Israeli court. Dirar Abu Sisi, who was kidnapped from a train in Ukraine by Israeli agents in February, is also accused of conducting training for Palestinian militants in Gaza.
“The rocket godfather of Hamas” – that is how Tel-Aviv has labeled this Palestinian engineer. Israel claims this man was behind the development of Qassam rockets and missiles that can penetrate steel.
“He’s accused of developing Qassam and Grad rockets, and creating rockets with a range of over six kilometers. Belonging to Hamas is a simple accusation. There are charges referring not only to weapons design and military training, but to planning a murder attempt. Such accusations may send him to prison for many years,” explains defense lawyer Tali Linor.
Meanwhile, his Ukrainian wife Veronika claims Dirar has always been an ordinary engineer.
“He has always abstained from politics and any freedom fighters. His only involvement in politics was that he watched the news on television. But that is called awareness and not terrorism. I’m sure Israel wants him simply because he knows everything about the only power station in Palestine, where he worked,” she says.
Abu Sisi went missing in Ukraine in February – allegedly kidnapped from a train. A month later, Israeli prime-minister confirmed that the man was behind bars in Israel.
Eyes and suspicions turned to Mossad. Israeli intelligence is known for striking without warning, just like last year, when a suspected Hamas militant was assassinated in Dubai without any consent of the Emirate’s security services.
This time authorities in Kiev also raised their eyebrows.
“Not a single intelligence service turned to us to assist in arresting a criminal. We have received no notifications of a special operation either,” says Vladimir Rakitskiy, Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Security Services.
Experts say the trial would probably last for months, as it is unclear what evidence against Abu Sisi will be produced. Meanwhile, Veronika has already turned to dozens of human rights organizations and even the UN to have her husband released. Her last hope may rest with those in power in Kiev.
A delegation from Ukraine’s interior ministry will be heading to Israel this week. Their mission will be tricky indeed trying to get answers from Tel-Aviv as to why the special operation was performed without any warning. Something experts describe it as a breach of a country’s sovereignty.