Israel May Free Six Palestinians Released in Shalit Deal and Rearrested

The six men, who had been freed in the Gilat Shalit prisoner exchange, were rearrested during the search for the kidnapped teens in the West Bank.

Eli Ashkenazi
Eli Ashkenazi
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Israeli soldiers searching for the abducted teens in Hebron, June 21, 2014.
Israeli soldiers searching for the abducted teens in Hebron, June 21, 2014.Credit: AFP
Eli Ashkenazi
Eli Ashkenazi

An Israeli court is considering whether to free six men arrested last month during the search for the three kidnapped teens in the West Bank. All six, who had served part of long prison sentences for murder, were released in the 2011 deal to free abducted soldier Gilad Shalit.

The Nazareth District Court, sitting as an administrative court, will hand down its decision in the next few days.

We are now in a legal situation in which the deliberations of the special committee concerning all six appellants have ended, said an attorney for the state, Simona Ben Haim Lev, adding that for now there is no reason to discuss the appeal.

The special committee that Ben Haim Lev referred to was the release committee that recommended the rearrest.

The six have appealed the June 18 rearrest for allegedly belonging to a terror group and thereby violating the terms of their release. They were brought before the special committee after the attorney general requested that they serve the remainder of their original sentences.

The detainees have said the decision to rearrest them is a political one designed to placate public opinion.

One appellant was convicted decades ago for crimes including the murder of an alleged collaborator with Israel in a shocking and bestial manner, according to the prosecution. Prosecutors say he violated the terms of his release, in part, by being active in the Popular Front [for the Liberation of Palestine].

Another appellant allegedly violated the terms of his release by being in contact with Hamas activists in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and by receiving funds from Hamas after his release.

Two of the appellants received murder convictions based on the killing of an alleged collaborator with the Israelis.

Attorney Avigdor Feldman, who is representing the six men, said the release committee discussed their cases without authority and assumed powers not delegated to it by law. Their detention is therefore illegal, he added.

Based on figures from the security services late last month, 55 Palestinians who had been released in the Shalit deal had been rearrested.

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