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High Court gives go-ahead to prisoner release
Justice Miriam Naor rejects petition filed by Almagor Terror Victims Association to block government decision to free 87 Palestinian security prisoners as a goodwill gesture to Palestinian President Abbas. Release to begin Monday at 4:30 am

High Court Justice Miriam Naor on Sunday evening decided to reject the petition filed by the Almagor Terror Victims Association and not to issue an injunction against the release of Palestinian prisoners Monday.

 

After the High Court decision was made public, the Almagor association appealed to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz in a bid to block the prisoner release.

 

Almagor petitioned the High Court on Sunday evening to block the government's decision to release 87 Palestinian security prisoners as a goodwill gesture to President Mahmoud Abbas, claiming that the release "constitutes a great danger to the citizens of Israel".  

 

The Israel Prison Service (IPS) is preparing to begin the release process at 4:30 am.

 

Almagor officials explained that the petition was filed at the last minute "due to the State's conduct". According to the organization, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz did not respond to their appeal and President Shimon Peres began pardoning the prisoners.

 

In the petition filed by Attorney Arieh Bachrach, Almagor said the release sent "a message to terrorists and to those who wish to join them that crime is worthwhile."

 

The association also said that the release of Arab prisoners was discriminatory against Jewish prisoners put behind bars for crimes committed out of their fervent nationalistic beliefs.

 

The petition also claimed that "the release of prisoners like the ones convicted – dangerous terrorists – constitutes a great danger to the citizens of Israel. These prisoners, who never expressed regret over their acts may repeat them again, this time successfully."

 

According to another claim, "Those Jews who were hurt or who were about to be hurt by those terrorists should be allowed to voice their opinions regarding the release and appear before the governmental sources in a hearing."

 

IPS prepares for release

Earlier Sunday, President Shimon Peres pardoned 26 of the 87 Palestinian security prisoners that Israel agreed to release.

 

The prisoners pardoned by Peres were sentenced by civil courts and their pardoning does not require the signature of an IDF command chief as is the case with prisoners sentenced by military courts.

 

Brigadier Asher Shriki, commander of the IPS' Nachshon unit, which is in charge of the security prisoners, said that the IPS was prepared for the prisoner release.

 

"The prisoners were assembled at the Ketziot Prison, where they went through an identification process, medical test, interviews and meetings with Red Cross representatives.

 

Shriki added that the prisoners must sign declaration in which they commit to refrain from terrorist activity after their release.

 

Most of the prisoners Israel agreed to release would be handed over to Palestinian Authority officials in the West Bank, but the fate of 29 prisoners from the Gaza Strip remains unclear.

 

The sentences of most of the 90 prisoners, none of whom is affiliated with Hamas, were set to expire in 2012, the Israel Prison Service said Sunday.

 

Raanan Ben-Zur contributed to this report

 


First published: 30.09.07, 22:38
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