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Prisoners' relatives reject PA decision to stop paying Israeli fines

May 2, 2013 9:39 P.M. (Updated: May 4, 2013 10:17 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Relatives of prisoners on Thursday criticized a Palestinian Authority decision to stop paying fines imposed by Israeli courts.

The PA Ministry of Prisoner Affairs recently announced it would stop paying fines issued by Israeli courts on June 1, to stop Israel benefiting from Palestinian public money.

"This decision is disastrous," said the wife of prisoner Ahmad al-Mughrabi, from Duheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem.

The PA should pay prisoners' fines, she told Ma'an. "They sacrificed for their homeland, and in return they should be given even a small reward. A day outside jail is better than 10 inside."

The mother of Firas Mousa, a detainee from al-Khader near Bethlehem, said the decision means families will be forced to pay fines.

"Even if the ministry refused to pay a fine on behalf of my son, as a mother I wouldn't accept that my son stay longer in jail, so I will pay the fine myself," she said.

But Qadura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society, urged families not to pay fines "to the occupation that fights them with their own money."

He said it would be better for detainees to "serve more years in jail than pay money to the occupation." The ministry was paying 13 million shekels ($3.65 million) a year to Israel, spending up to 4,000 shekels on each fine, he added.

The prisoners ministry decided to stop paying fines because they strengthen the Israeli treasury and do not help Palestinians' interests, Fares said.

"Until when will we have to pay the price of the gunshot which kills us?"

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