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Profile: Marwan Barghouti

By Arabic Editor Caroline Faraj

Marwan Barghouti is shown in this 2001 file photo.
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Marwan Barghouti
Yasser Arafat
Middle East

(CNN) -- The following is a profile of jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti:

  • Born June 6, 1959, in Kobar near Ramallah, eight years before the Israeli occupation of West Bank and Gaza.
  • At age 15, he joined Fatah and started his political activities. He was arrested and jailed by Israeli authorities for four years after being charged with being a member of Fatah, which was then a "banned" organization.
  • While in prison, he successfully completed his studies and received his high school diploma.
  • In 1983, he joined Beirzeit University and studied history and political science. During these years, he engaged in political and resistance activities against the Israeli occupation and became a key Palestinian player.
  • In 1985, he was arrested for a second time and placed under administrative detention for six months.
  • Being an activist and having a key role in organizing the political aspects of the first intifada, as well as having good relationship with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), he served as liaison officer between the PLO and Fatah.
  • In 1994, after Oslo agreement, the Israeli government allowed Barghouti to return to Ramallah, where he continued his political activities with Fatah. As a result, he became Fatah secretary general in the West Bank. Two years later, he was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council.
  • After the second intifada (2000), Barghouti continued his political and resistance activities against the Israelis, who accused him of being behind several deadly attacks on Israelis. They arrested him in 2002.
  • An Israeli court sentenced him to five consecutive life terms and an additional 40 years in prison for his role in attacks that killed five Israelis.
  • Barghouti has good relations with various political groups and organizations, including Islamic groups such as Hamas. He also gains high popularity among the Palestinians and came second after Yasser Arafat in many polls.
  • Barghouti is married to his cousin Fadway, a lawyer, and has four children.

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