The first session of a murder trial for four suspects in the killing of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni is due to start on Thursday in a Gaza court, a Ma’an correspondent reported.
The Italian activist and journalist was murdered after being kidnapped by a group that identified itself as Salafist in April.
The military court in Gaza City has opened the trial of four defendants to the public.
The defendants — Abu Ghoul, 25, Khader Jram, 26, Mohammed Salfi, 23, and Hasanah Tarek, 25, — appeared to be in good health, activists in Gaza who attended the hearing said.
Attorneys from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, representing Arrigoni’s family in Bulciago, Italy, submitted a request that they be allowed to participate in the trial, the International Solidarity Movement said.
Judge Abu Omar Atallah responded that while Palestinian military law does not allow for participation in criminal trials by third parties, hearings and legal files would be available to PCHR as well as the public.
Atallah also granted more time to the prosecution to prepare witnesses and for the defense to review evidence, and scheduled a new hearing for Thursday, Sept. 22, the ISM said.
Arrigoni was found hanged in a house northwest of Gaza City on April 15, 2011.
Hamas security forces were able to find the group allegedly responsible for the murder in Nuseirat refugee camp three days after the murder.
Clashes erupted between the group and Hamas forces, killing two of the accused murderers. A third was injured and a fourth detained.
News of the Italian activist’s murder was greeted with widespread condemnation, and demonstrations and vigils were held across the West Bank in his memory.
President Abbas condemned the murder of Arrigoni as a "grotesque and disgraceful crime."