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Israel resentences Palestinian 34 years after being released in prisoner swap deal

June 5, 2017 10:56 P.M. (Updated: June 7, 2017 12:06 P.M.)
(File)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities have resentenced a Palestinian to life in prison, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) reported on Monday, more than 30 years after he was released in a prisoner swap deal.

Yousif Hassan Ahmad Abu al-Kheir, a 74-year-old Palestinian from the coastal city of Akka in Israel, was serving a life sentence in Israeli custody for what Israeli news outlet Ynet called “serious security offenses” when he was released in 1983 as part of a prisoner swap deal between Israel and the Fatah movement, PPS said.

Following his release, Abu al-Kheir’s Israeli citizenship was revoked, and he moved to Greece.

A few years later, he started attempting to recover his Israeli citizenship in order to travel back home and live with his family. In late May, PPS said, Abu al-Kheir's lawyer notified him that he had been allowed to return to Israel.

However, Israeli authorities detained him when he arrived at the airport, and a special Israeli committee ruled that he serve his life sentence, 34 years after he was released.

Israeli authorities have regularly redetained Palestinians who were released during prisoner exchange deals, in violation of the agreements.

Since a 2011 prisoner swap deal in which Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was exchanged against more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, Israel has initiated mass detention campaigns to bring hundreds of former prisoners back into Israeli custody.

The Hamas movement has repeatedly insisted that Israel must release all prisoners who were freed as part of the Shalit deal and have since been redetained before starting talks of a new prisoner swap deal.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,300 Palestinians were held in Israel as of April, 458 of whom were serving life sentences.
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