Report: Ukrainian secret police kidnapped Palestinian engineer
Agents from Ukraine's national intelligence agency kidnapped a Palestinian engineer who had been seeking political asylum and handed him over to Israel, an independent news website reported Monday.
One of those involved in the detention of Gaza Strip resident Dirar Abu Sisi identified himself to a witness as an agent of the service, known as the SBU, Ukrainska Pravda reported. A man claiming to be an eyewitness confirmed the account to the German Press Agency dpa.
If the witness' account is true, it would directly contradict official Ukrainian statements that Kiev had nothing to do with Abu Sisi's kidnapping.
Security officers seized the Palestinian, a key technician at a Gaza Strip power plant, from a train travelling from the Ukrainian city Kharkiv to the capital Kiev in February.
Ukrainska Pravda said a Ukrainian national, Andry Makarenko, was a fellow passenger in Abu Sisi's cabin and witnessed his detention.
Makarenko, who works for the Heinrich Boell Stiftung, confirmed to dpa that a man aboard the train showed him the identification badge of an SBU agent shortly after two other men removed Abu Sisi from the sleeper coupe.
They spoke native Russian and allowed Abu Sisi to put on his shoes but not socks, Makarenko said.
The train conductor was nearby and did not interfere in the detention, he said.
Abu Sisi was later transported secretly to Israel, where he now faces charges of having managed a rocket construction programme that supplied weapons to Hamas. Israeli prosecutors have alleged Abu Sisi had received training as a missile technician in Ukraine.
Spokesmen for Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, including the SBU, have repeatedly denied their officers were involved in the kidnapping.
Ukrainian opposition politicians have contradicted that position, claiming that Ukrainian law enforcement agencies had in fact worked closely with the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.
Ukrainian media have published diplomas and other documents that suggest Abu Sisi was trained in Ukraine as a power plant engineer.