'Abd al-Majid Nimer Zaghmout
(died 15 February 2000
]) was a Palestinian
national imprisoned in Syria
who was described by Amnesty International
as "possibly the
longest-serving arbitrarily detained political prisoner in the Middle East". At his death, he was arguably the longest-serving political prisoner in the world.
Prior to arrest
He was formerly a member of Fatah
, a mainstream faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization
He was arrested in 1966 and charged with the politically motivated murder
of the Palestinian guerrilla
leader Yusuf 'Urabi. He denied the charges and alleged he had been tortured
46 days after his arrest to force him to confess
Trial and conviction
After a trial described in some quarters as "unfair"[web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE240201998?open&of=ENG-348]he was sentenced to death by a military court.
Order for release
The Syrian Minister of Defence, General Mustafa Tlass
, in 1989 ordered his release but the order was not carried out.
He died of cancer in a military hospital on 15 February