Ahed was born in 1968 in Beit Furik, near Nablus. He is serving a life sentence plus 5 years after being jailed by an occupation military court, accused of directing the assassination of the notoriously racist tourism minister of the occupation, Rehavam Ze’evi, in October 2001, in retaliation for the Israeli assassination of PFLP General Secretary Abu Ali Mustafa in August 2001.
As a high school student, he founded the Union of Secondary Student Committees in his village in 1982 and was first arrested in 1984 for organizing demonstrations to commemorate the anniversary of the PFLP’s launch. In 1986, he began to attend Bir Zeit University, but his education was repeatedly disrupted due to repeated arrests and detention. He was heavily involved in the great popular intifada, organizing popular committees and action groups in the Nablus area. After being arrested in 1990, he was transferred to administrative detention for a year. When he returned to university, he became a leader of the Progressive Student Action Front.
As a leader of the Popular Front throughout the 1990s, he was repeatedly pursued by the Israeli occupation, even as he completed his university degree, married and had two children. He was particularly active in defense of the Palestinian prisoners, representing the PFLP in the committee of National and Islamic Forces on prisoners and detainees. He was repeatedly imprisoned and arrested by the Palestinian Authority under “security coordination” with Israeli occupation, in both January and December 1996, when he was jailed for five months, and again in May 2000. With the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000, Abu Ghoulmeh played a leading role and he was publicly announced as a target for Israeli assassination in April 2001. After the assassination of Abu Ali Mustafa and the response of the PFLP in assassinating Ze’evi, he, along with Majdi Rimawi, Hamdi Qur’an and Basil al-Asmar — and then, PFLP General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat — was imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority in Jericho prison in a security coordination agreement, where he was held under U.S., British, Canadian and Turkish guards.
During this time, Wafa’, his wife, was subjected to house arrest four times in a row for six month periods in an effort to prevent her and their children from visiting Abu Ghoulmeh in Jericho prison. Wafa’ and Ahed have two children, Qais and Rita. On 13 March 2006, the occupation forces attacked Jericho prison after the withdrawal of the US and British guards, kidnapping Sa’adat, Abu Ghoulmeh, Qur’an, al-Asmar, Rimawi and fellow political prisoner Fouad al-Shoubaki, today one of the oldest political prisoners in Israeli occupation prisons.
He was subjected to military interrogation for over two months, during which he was subjected to extensive physical and psychological torture as he refused to confess, and on 1 January 2008, he was sentenced by the occupation military court to a life sentence plus 5 years.
Life in Prison
He has remained a major leader of the prisoners’ movement and has been repeatedly subjected to isolation and solitary confinement, and his family have been banned on numerous occasions from visiting him. His wife Wafa’ continued to be denied visits, and she saw him for the first time in 10 years in 2018. He was held in solitary confinement until 2012, when he and 19 fellow leaders of the prisoners’ movement, including Ahmad Sa’adat and Marwan Barghouti, were returned to the general population after the mass Karameh hunger strike. In June 2022, the PFLP announced that he had been elected the leader of its prison branch, following decades of his leadership.