The Complaint and Prosecution against AMAN is a Mistake that Must be Retracted by Adv. Salah Ali Musa

 The Complaint and Prosecution against AMAN is a Mistake that Must be Retracted by Adv. Salah Ali Musa


he Complaint and Prosecution against AMAN is a Mistake that Must be Retracted

By Adv. Salah Ali Musa

Since the AMAN-related case being examined before the Ramallah Magistrate Court is not considered confidential and there is nothing that prevents its publication or circulation, and as long as the freedom of expression is constitutionally guaranteed and protected in writing and in practice, the well-known legal principle of the Presumption of Innocence (“innocent until proven guilty”) is hereby relevant. As long as the [honorable] court is the master of itself and we trust its judgment at all levels of litigation, I would like to shed light on some legal facts out of concern for what was confirmed by the President [Mahmoud Abbas] regarding “sky is the limit when it comes to freedom of expression”. This article examines things from an objective and legal viewpoint, and we hope that the relevant authorities will respond positively to it.

We believe that the person who told Mrs. Intisar Abu-Amara to file a complaint against AMAN Coalition at the Public Prosecution Office (PPO) aimed, intentionally or unintentionally, to undermine the public’s trust in the President and strike the last stronghold of our legitimacy before the international community! After reviewing the investigation file related to that complaint and the overall case against AMAN, a number of legal observations were recorded, which, from my humble point of view, will make the said complaint and charge sheet unproductive. Hence, the more this case is examined before the court, the Palestinian Authority will further lose trust and support on the popular level (which are already deteriorating), as well as the regional and international levels. These are some of the case’s problematics:

1. The complaint, which was filed on 25 May 2023, was submitted under the personal name of Mrs. Intisar Abu-Amara in her capacity as “Head of Presidential Bureau”. However, it was signed by someone else, as it is clear that the signature is not hers. Also, even if there is a previous authorization by Mrs. Intisar to that person, it would mean that this person has the right to sign in his own name on behalf of the Presidential Bureau and not to sign on her behalf. This is because the authorization granted to him was limited to filing complaints and not signing on her behalf with the use of her name without writing her capacity/position, as her name was seen after his signature without mentioning her capacity/position [which indicates an error].

2. Presidential Bureau Law No. (5) of 2020 states the following in Article (6) paragraph (d): “Represent the [Presidential] Bureau in its relations and contracting with local and international official and unofficial parties, and s/he has the right to authorize whoever is deemed suitable for this purpose.”

This provision talks about the Bureau’s relations and contracts but does not include the submitting of complaints before official bodies. Therefore, the authorization granted to Mr. Nadi al-Shawawreh is legally erroneous, especially because the text of the aforementioned article was confined to certain cases and it is impermissible to load the text beyond what is tolerable. 

3. The authorization granted by Mrs. Intisar Abu-Amara to Mr. Nadi al-Shawawreh talks about a dispute with the Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN), “represented by its Executive Director and the Coalition’s Advisor”. However, the Law of Charitable Associations and Community Organizations explicitly states that the Board of Directors is the party that bears legal responsibility before others, as seen in Article (17) thereof:

“The Board of Directors of any Association or Community Organization is responsible for all its operations and activities. The [Board of Directors] Chairman or his/her deputy (in his/her absence) shall duly represent the Association or Community Organization before other parties […]

Therefore, the subject of this dispute is considered null and improper. This is because the accusation should have been directed against AMAN’s Board of Directors members and not against its Executive Director and/or Advisor.

4. Invalidity of the accusation in the complaint and charge sheet submitted by the Public Prosecution Office (PPO). The Law of Charitable Associations and Community Organizations is a special law, and therefore the defendant party (AMAN) is correct indeed. However, the representative of AMAN according to the complaint and charge sheet is incorrect and contrary to the provisions of the aforementioned law in force. This is because the person who represents AMAN is actually Abd al-Qadir Faisal Husseini, who is the Board of Directors Chairman of AMAN.

5. The mandate and field of AMAN Coalition are related to enhancing the principles and values of integrity, transparency, and accountability in the different sectors of Palestinian society. Also, among AMAN’s main objectives is to prepare recommendations and suggest appropriate anti-corruption measures in different public sectors and fields, along with influencing and exerting pressure to carry out necessary reforms and implement the recommendations. AMAN Coalition uses the media as one of its main means specified in its rules of procedure. Hence, how can AMAN be accused of spreading fake news through the media if one of its main objectives is to achieve media integrity? (which has been diligently pursued by them throughout the years, in accordance with their goals). It does not make sense for the Public Prosecution Office (PPO) to hold an accusation against AMAN Coalition simply for pursing these objectives and means, especially because the information obtained by AMAN is always openly published in written and audiovisual media. It is also worth noting that AMAN previously published reports indicating corruption-related facts that were even more elaborate, but no one filed a complaint and the Public Prosecution Office (PPO) did not do any investigations or take AMAN to court.

6. The Public Prosecution Office (PPO) many times files charges that are not dependent on filing a complaint. So why did the Public Prosecution need a complaint from the Presidential Bureau in order to open an investigation with AMAN Coalition?! It would have been better for the Public Prosecution to direct this case without the need for any complaint from the Presidential Bureau. This is easily concludable from the chart sheet submitted by the Public Prosecution to the Magistrate Court on 5 June 2023.

7. More importantly, are the facts mentioned during AMAN’s press conference regarding negotiations between the defendant’s lawyer and the [Palestinian] President’s legal advisor correct and true? And do AMAN and the defendant’s attorney (who was said to be negotiating with the President’s legal advisor) have any evidence of these negotiations? If these negotiations did in fact take place, is there a charge/accusation that calls for filing a complaint against AMAN, or was this information simply manipulated by the Public Prosecution?!

8. Another vital point: Is there a company registered in the name of employees working at the Presidential Bureau? Does the name of the company mentioned in AMAN’s report exist and is duly registered by the Companies Registrar? If this company does exist and has been registered, we pose the following question: Why was the name of this company mentioned specifically and not others?! Does AMAN have conclusive evidence to particularly mention this company? Let us also not forget that the Jordanian Companies Law No. (12) of 1964 prohibited public sector employees from establishing companies, except with the approval of the official authority through a written letter. So if these company owners are also employees of the Presidential Bureau, as stated by AMAN, did they receive the approval of His Excellency the President regarding that company’s registration? And does the Companies Registrar have a documented letter which proves that?! If this company indeed exists and is duly registered, then why is there defamation and libel against the Presidential Bureau’s employees?!

9. If this was actually a defamation, libel and vilification, the crime would be linked to the person who suffered from that act. However, the President’s legal advisor did not file a complaint against AMAN, although he was explicitly mentioned in AMAN’s press conference. Moreover, the [Presidential Bureau] employees mentioned in the report were the ones who were said to be the owners of that company. These persons were mentioned [in the report], so why didn’t they file a complaint against AMAN? This shows that the filing of the complaint by the Head of Presidential Bureau was done incorrectly and does not comply with legal provisions.

Apart from the aforementioned legal points, which some might agree or disagree with, we wonder about the role of the Public Prosecution Office (PPO) in protecting rights and freedoms, especially since they cooperate with AMAN on several issues. It would have been better for the Public Prosecution Office – which established a Human Rights Unit under its hierarchy – to verify the allegations presented by the Presidential Bureau prior to referring the file to the court and turning the whole matter into a public opinion issue.

The further examination of this case will lead to a crisis with donor parties, especially because Palestine will soon discuss its report before the United Nations committee on implementing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The discussion will take place with a delegation headed by the Palestinian Minister of Justice, while representing all official bodies. It is also worth noting that the Palestinian Authority is currently under an unprecedented financial and political blockade, and the aforementioned case can lead to European and American criticism and discontentment from the PA’s performance within its already limited space. Dr. Azmi Shuaibi was a Minister in the first government formed by late President Yasser Arafat after establishing the Palestinian Authority. Shuaibi was a member in the Legislative Council with very good relations with Arafat. He was also a great supporter for defending the Palestinian Authority’s resources. Therefore, we suggest that the plaintiff would withdraw their complaint without delay in order to maintain the President’s popularity and status. We also ask His Excellency the President to intervene to protect civil society organizations (CSOs), especially the monitoring and oversight ones. This should be done by inviting AMAN Coalition – represented by the son of the late leader Faisal Husseini and the Board of Directors Advisor [Azmi Shuabi] and Executive Director [Issam Haj-Hassan] - to close this case in a way that maintains the status and role of the President in protecting rights and freedoms and oversight organizations. This is because people know the facts and are tired of numerous practices that are contrary to our people’s dreams and aspirations. Let us not be preoccupied with small, worthless issues while forgetting or pretending to forget the great challenges threatening our mere existence in our land and great mosque [Al-Aqsa]. Will there be anyone who takes heed to the voice of wisdom and avoids rashness and hastiness?!




**The published articles and opinions express the opinion of their owners, and do not necessarily express AMAN's opinion
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