A Palestinian court run by the ruling Fatah movement on Wednesday rejected an appeal by former strongman Mohammed Dahlan against his expulsion from the party, officials said.
In its ruling, the court found that a June 12 decision by the Fatah Central Committee to expel him from the party and its ruling body, was justified, thereby overturning Dahlan's appeal, court official Jamal Muheisen told AFP.
Dahlan was expelled from the ruling party over allegations of financial corruption and murder, and a senior FCC official told AFP on Wednesday that the committee had decided to refer his case to the attorney general and the anti-corruption commission.
The decision to expel him must now be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Fatah Revolutionary Council.
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Last month, the FCC had also backed a decision to extend the mandate of the committee probing Dahlan's affairs, allowing to look into the affairs of his friends and associates.
Dahlan, who once held the internal security portfolio and was head of Gaza's powerful security forces, was formerly a leading figure within the secular Fatah movement which controls the Palestinian Authority.
Known for his fierce opposition to the Islamist Hamas movement, Dahlan led a merciless crackdown on the group in the 1990s, rounding up thousands of Islamists who refused to recognise the legitimacy of the newly-created Palestinian Authority.
But he fell from grace in June 2007 after the humiliating rout of his forces by Hamas fighters during days of fierce street battles in Gaza, which saw the Islamist faction expel Fatah forces from the territory.
Two years later, he returned to the political stage when he was elected to the FCC in August 2009.
But in December 2010, he was suspended from the committee which said it had set up a commission of inquiry to examine his finances and claims he tried to set up a personal militia.