'Abd al-Majid Nimer Zaghmout

'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.[1][2]


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 for 46 days after his arrest to force him to confess.[1]

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.[1]


He died of cancer in a military hospital on 15 February 2000.


  1. ^ a b c October 1998 Amnesty International appeal Archived 18 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine for medical letter writing action on his behalf
  2. ^ [1] Amnesty advising of his death, 21 February 2000