Ma'an News Agency
June 12, 2011 - 12:00am

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Fatah on Sunday said it had ousted former party strongman Muhammad Dahlan from the movement over "criminal acts."

President Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman of Fatah, has approved the decision of the committee, the Arabic satellite channel Al-Jazeera reported.

Details remain scant on the investigation into Dahlan.

Fatah affiliates in Gaza, however, said an emergency meeting had been called to "discuss the consequences of the decision of the central committee of freezing the membership of Mohammad Dahlan."

The statement was issued hours ahead of a Central Committee brief that announced Dahlan's dismissal from Fatah.

AFP reported Sunday morning that a Fatah Central Committee member said the issue was an internal matter and would be referred to the courts when appropriate.

Attorney General Ahmad Al-Mughni said his office had received no suits against Dahlan. The statement casts doubt on the claims of an anonymous Fatah official who told AFP that "The central committee decided to transfer Dahlan's file, which includes corruption and crimes mentioned in the inquiry commission's report... to the appropriate authorities."

The attorney general said Sunday evening that "until this moment I have not received anything, I know about this issue only from the media and I am looking into the allegations."

Fatah members in Gaza say conditions "unbearable"

Even before the announcement came from Ramallah confirming the rumor Dahlan had been ousted, Fatah officials in Gaza told Ma’an that conditions were difficult "not only because of the Dahlan issue, but because the Central Committee has been marginalizing and ignoring the Gaza Strip."

One member accused the Central Committee of "working to serve themselves and their interests," and called the move to oust Dahlan "irresponsible."

Fatah leader Mahmoud Al-Alul said "the central committee has the right to dismiss any of its members without [handing the issue down] to the revolutionary council," he said commenting on internal party procedure, and insisted that the discussion over charges against the official had no affect on the unity of the movement.

The official at the time had refused to confirm reports of Dahlan's dismissal, saying only the issue was "being studied, it has not been decided yet.

"An investigations committee was formed and met with Dahlan once, and designated a second committee to carry out an investigation and present a full list of charges," he said.

"Any defendant who does not attend his trial can be judged in absentia," Al-Alul noted.

Earlier in the day, Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muheisin also denied reports that the movement had ousted Dahlan.


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