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Israeli forces detain Jerusalemite lawmaker, 2 months after release from prison

Aug. 4, 2017 2:55 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 6, 2017 10:49 P.M.)
Muhammad Abu Tair (File)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces redetained Palestinian Jerusalemite lawmaker Muhammad Abu Tair, 66, two months after he was released from Israeli custody after serving a 17-month prison sentence.

Local sources told Ma’an that Israeli forces detained Abu Tair from his home in the West Bank town of Kafr Aqab -- where he has resided since Israel deported him from occupied East Jerusalem in 2010.

Abu Tair, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) from the Change and Reform Bloc of the Hamas movement representing Jerusalem, was detained on Jan. 28, 2016 from his home and released on May 30, 2017.

At the time of Abu Tair's sentencing, fellow exiled Jerusalem lawmaker Ahmad Attun -- who was detained in April 2017, when the number of Palestinian MPs detained by Israeli forces surged to 13 after five others were detained in a single month -- described the Israeli court’s ruling as "part of a vicious campaign the Israeli occupation has been waging on the city of Jerusalem and its people, especially the active leaders."

The 66-year-old MP has spent at least 32 years in Israeli custody on and off since he was first detained in 1974.

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.

The targeting of PLC members by Israel -- particularly those believed to be affiliated with Hamas -- surged in the lead-up to and aftermath of Palestinian legislative elections in 2006, which Hamas won, becoming the ruling party in the Gaza Strip as a result.

Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer has said that “Palestinian political leaders are routinely arrested and detained as part of an ongoing Israeli effort to suppress Palestinian political processes -- and, as a result, Palestinian political sovereignty and self-determination.”

According to Addameer, “The (Israeli) occupation forces continued to prosecute members of the Palestinian Legislative Council since 2006, and arbitrarily incarcerate them after putting them on trial before military courts that lack guarantees to a fair trial.”

As of July, Addameer reported that there were 6,128 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons, 12 of whom were PLC members.

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