Two years after his scheduled release: a Palestinian prisoner Israel refused to release to Gaza and other countries refused to admit to their territories, is finally released to Gaza המוקד להגנת הפרט
01.11.2011
Two years after his scheduled release: a Palestinian prisoner Israel refused to release to Gaza and other countries refused to admit to their territories, is finally released to Gaza
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A Palestinian living in Lebanon was apprehended in May 2003 on a boat Israel claims was on its way to the Gaza Strip carrying weapons. He was transferred for interrogation in the secret prison known as Facility 1391, and from there to an ordinary prison. He was tried and sentenced to six years in prison and an additional four year suspended prison sentence. The court also agreed to convert an additional year of imprisonment to a fine of 10,000 ILS (approximately 2,500 USD).

The prisoner was set to be released on March 15, 2009, but Israel refused to release him to the Gaza Strip, where his family lives, while neighboring countries refused to admit him into their territories. After Israel kept him in prison for several months past his release date, the man petitioned the HCJ. HaMoked took on the case in February of 2010.

While proceedings regarding his release progressed at a slow pace, he filed a prisoner’s petition with the Beersheva District Court, seeking a refund of the fine he had paid in lieu of an additional year of imprisonment. The prisoner claimed that since he had served a longer prison term than ordered by the court, because Israel had refused to release him to Gaza, he should, at the very least, be exempted from paying the fine. The District Court dismissed the petition.

The prisoner appealed to the Supreme Court. In a hearing of the appeal, the court suggested the state re-examine the issue of refunding the fine. The state suggested the prisoner appeal to the President for a pardon.

At the same time, a major development occurred in the petition for the prisoner’s release. On October 10, 2011, the state announced that it no longer objected to the man’s release to Gaza. On October 30, 2011, more than two and a half years after he was due to regain his freedom, the man was finally released and arrived at his sister’s house in Gaza. Given the dramatic development and sudden change in the prisoner’s circumstances, he was unable to respond to the state’s position in the appeal regarding the fine, and the appeal was dismissed.
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