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Austrian court sentences Palestinian asylum seeker to life in prison

July 31, 2017 10:05 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 1, 2017 1:19 P.M.)
(File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- An Austrian court on Monday sentenced a Palestinian asylum seeker to life in prison for organizing suicide attacks on Israelis and for his affiliation with the Hamas movement, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The Israeli news website reported that the 27-year-old man, who could not be further identified under Austrian law, “was raised in the Gaza Strip and, according to the charges, a member of Hamas who called on men on social media to launch attacks in Jerusalem.”

According to The Jerusalem Post, the Palestinian man, who was arrested in 2016 while in an asylum center, “confirmed his membership in Hamas,” which is considered by Israel, the United States, and the European Union as a “terrorist organization.”

Turkish Anadolu news agency reported that the Palestinian man was arrested at a refugee center in the Waldviertel region of Austria “on several charges, including opposing the state’s authority and slandering a doctor.”

“He used phone messages to encourage Palestinians to throw grenades at gatherings of (Israeli) people in Jerusalem. He sought to murder Jews in Jerusalem, according to reports,” The Jerusalem Post reported, adding that the Palestinian had previously served nine years in Israeli prisons “for violence against soldiers.”

The Jerusalem Post added that the judge “said the crime required a strong penalty to send a message to the Palestinian that his conduct was unacceptable.”

Anadolu reported that the man’s defense team was appealing the judge’s decision.

Israel considers the majority of Palestinian political parties to be “terrorist organizations." As a result, most Palestinians who participate in the political arena in the occupied Palestinian territory risk being imprisoned by Israeli authorities.

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