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Prisoner chosen as mayor of Bethlehem village

Oct. 20, 2012 4:58 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 21, 2012 12:15 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A Palestinian prisoner serving 11 life terms in Israel will be the next mayor of Tuqu near Bethlehem, after residents of the village nominated him in solidarity.

Riyad al-Amour, 42, was arrested on May 4, 2002 and sentenced to 11 life terms for involvement in the resistance.

He is also suffering from serious health conditions, which is why the village residents nominated him for mayor as an act of solidarity.

As the head of the only list running in Tuqu, he is running unopposed and will be considered the mayor-elect when votes are counted.

Mousa al-Shaer, a resident of Tuqu, says the election of al-Amour was welcomed by an overwhelming majority of the population.

He added that the move was a message of solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and a demand to release prisoners, especially the sick ones.

Al-Amour is scheduled to undergo open heart surgery soon at Sheba Medical Center in Tal Hashomer in central Israel, a report from the Palestinian ministry of prisoners affairs said Saturday.

The detainee had a pacemaker implanted at Assaf Harofeh medical center recently. However, no improvement was noticed, and doctors decided to send him to Sheba for open heart surgery.

Al-Amour slips into comas multiple times a day and suffers from exhaustion and incontinence.

The detainee sustained a gunshot wound to the abdomen in the past, and parts of internal organs had to be removed leading to the deteriorating conditions and weak coronary muscles.
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