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Israeli police detain recently freed prisoner over 'unpaid taxes'

Jan. 19, 2014 11:34 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 21, 2014 2:23 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli police detained a recently released Palestinian prisoner who had been held for over 20 years over allegedly "unpaid taxes" on Sunday.

Mahmoud Daajnah, a 66-year-old veteran prisoner who was released three weeks ago as part of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, was handed a summons at a checkpoint in Jerusalem on Saturday and taken into custody on Sunday, according to a prisoner advocacy group.

A spokesperson for the families of Jerusalem prisoners in Israeli custody Amjad Abu Asab told Ma'an that Daajnah was stopped by Israeli forces on Saturday at a military checkpoint near Shuafat refugee camp north of Jerusalem.

He was released after an hour and a half of detention, but was handed a summons demanding that he appear at a police station in Beit Hanina to settle unpaid taxes.

Daajnah went on Sunday to the Neve Yakov police station, where he was interrogated, added Abu Asab.

Israeli police then telephoned the family to inform that Daajnah had been taken into custody. The family was told he could be released if he signs a pledge to pay all his unpaid taxes, and if he or a third party pays a bail.

Daajnah was originally detained by Israeli forces in March 1993 while he was traveling to Jordan during the First Intifada against the Israeli occupation. He was then sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years on charge of killing an Israeli woman.

He was released on Dec. 31 along with 25 other Palestinian prisoners detained before the Oslo Accords as part of the third group of 104 veteran prisoners Israeli pledged to set free to encourage the PA to go on with peace talks.

5,200 Palestinians were being held in Israeli jails as of Oct. 2013, according to the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs. Another 1,280 are in Israeli prisons for being inside Israel without permits.

Since 1967, more than 650,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel, representing 20 percent of the total population and 40 percent of all males in the occupied territories.

Under international law, it is illegal to transfer prisoners outside of the occupied territory in which they are detained, and the families of Palestinian prisoners' face many obstacles in obtaining permits to see their imprisoned relatives.

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