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Barghouti: Prisoners were not consulted over swap deal

Oct. 17, 2011 6:21 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 18, 2011 3:46 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Detained Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti said Sunday that Hamas did not consult detainees over its prisoner swap deal with Israel.

Hamas has agreed to free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for the release of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

Several prominent political leaders, including Barghouti, were left out of the deal.

In a statement relayed by his lawyer Elias Sabagh, Barghouti said he had learned of the deal from media reports. Prison leaders -- including Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine secretary-general Ahmad Saadat -- were not involved in negotiations, Barghouti said.

Further, prisoners who will be exiled under the agreement were not informed of the decision. Over 200 prisoners will not be released to their homes, but will be deported to Gaza or abroad.

Barghouti is a charismatic and popular figure widely viewed as a contender to succeed Mahmoud Abbas as president.

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