More Than Half the Prisoners in Swap Serving Life Sentences

Average sentence of prisoners slated for release works out to three life terms for lifers and 25 years for nonlifers, according to calculations by Haaretz.

Of the 477 Palestinian prisoners who are to be released tomorrow as part of the exchange deal for Gilad Shalit, 276 had been serving life sentences.

The average sentence of the prisoners slated for release works out to three life terms for the lifers and 25 years for the nonlifers, according to calculations by Haaretz. The average time served for both groups is 13.4 years: an average of 14.9 years for those serving life terms and 11.4 years, or about 44 percent of their average sentence, for nonlifers.

The average age of the prisoners is 38.

The prisoner with the longest sentence is Walid Anjes. He was sentenced to 36 life terms for his involvement in suicide bombings at Jerusalem's Moment Cafe, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Sheffield Club in Rishon Letzion. This is the man of whom the judges wrote in their verdict, "Someone whose whole desire was to take the lives of women, men and babies with no mercy whatsoever is not fit to be in human society ... his thirst to shed blood has degraded him to such a low level that there is great doubt as to whether he deserves to be called a human being." He is now being freed at age 29, with his entire life before him, after having served a mere eight years in prison.

Of those not sentenced to life terms, one of the prisoners who will have served the smallest proportion of his sentence is Rami Ibrahim, convicted of participating in the brutal lynch attack on two Israeli soldiers in Ramallah in 2000. He was arrested in November 2006 and sentenced to 40 years, but will be going home after having served only one-eighth of his sentence.

Among the lifers, the shortest time was served by Muid Mohammed and Nadel Ragheb, who were arrested only in February 2008.

Almost half of those to be freed - 49 percent - were arrested during the second intifada. Another 13 percent were arrested between the signing of the Oslo Accord in September 1993 and the intifada's outbreak seven years later, 28 percent were jailed during the first intifada (1987-1993 ), and 8 percent have been in jail since before the first intifada.

Though only 26 percent of all Palestinian security prisoners in Israel belong to Hamas, 64 percent of those being freed tomorrow - 308 in all - are Hamas members. In contrast, only 99 of the 2,409 Fatah prisoners are being freed.

In geographic terms, 292 of the prisoners are from the West Bank, 130 from the Gaza Strip, 46 from East Jerusalem and six are Israeli Arabs.