After Request From Hamas Prisoners, Israel Eases Conditions for Inmate Who Assaulted Guard

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Ketziot Prison in the Negev, 2019.
Ketziot Prison in the Negev, 2019.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkowitz

Israel has agreed to ease the prison conditions of an inmate who belongs to the Hamas militant group and who is accused of attempted murder of a warden, meeting the demands from other Hamas prisoners jailed in Shata Prison.    

According to sources familiar with the matter, Hamas prisoners demanded that Islam Alushahiya be released from solitary confinement and in return agreed to move to a new wing in the prison, housing both them and prisoners belonging to the rival Palestinian faction Fatah.  

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The prisoners had refused to move to the new wing, which was opened two weeks ago, citing a ban on cooking inside its cells. They relented after being assured that Alushahiya would join them there. 

Another concession made to Hamas prisoners includes the assignment of several cells to a senior member of the group and other inmates in his inner circle, instead of just one cell that was originally meant to house all of them.

Alushahiya is serving time for driving a Palestinian attacker to the northern Israeli city of Hadera, where he carried out a terrorist attack during the Second Intifada.

In March of 2019, protesting the decision of then-Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to disrupt cellphone reception in prisons, Alushahiya stabbed a warden in the neck at Ketziot Prison in the Negev and wounded another prison officer who was trying to subdue him. He was charged with attempted murder.

The Shin Bet security services believed that Alushahiya was ordered by top Hamas members in the prison to carry out the stabbing, which he denied and said he had acted of his own accord. Since the incident, Alushahiya has been held in a separate prison wing in southern Israel.

The Israel Prison Service said in a statement that “The inmate was held in solitary confinement for a year and eight months. He was transferred to the security wing in Shata Prison amid a court demand to examine his integration into a non-isolated wing.  As for the motive for the transfer, the Prison Service does not address false reports and conspiracies.”

Alushahiya’s attorney Majed Badr said: “The Prison Service disproportionally employs the measure of solitary confinement. I hope that the courts will not approve this measure without examining whether it is truly needed.”

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