Marwan Barghouti, born in the West Bank village of Kobar in 1962, is a prominent and popular political figure associated with Fatah, currently serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison. He is a member of the Fatah Central Committee, and of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).
Often described by Palestinians as the ‘Palestinian Mandela’ he is viewed as one of the strongest leadership candidates to succeed Abbas. During the First Intifada, Barghouti was a student leader at Birzeit University and was involved in popular protests. During the Second Intifada, he allegedly led Fatah’s Tanzim faction and directed military attacks against Israeli targets. Barghouti was arrested and sentenced by an Israeli military court in 2002 to five consecutive life sentences for orchestrating attacks on Israelis.
Since his imprisonment, Barghouti has been active in the prisoners’ movement and has published various articles from prison to communicate with the outside world. In 2006, he helped draft the Prisoners’ Document for National Accord, and most recently in 2017, led a large-scale hunger strike to demand improved rights and conditions for prisoners.