World Bulletin / News Desk
An Israeli military court on Wednesday reinstated a life sentence against a former Palestinian detainee who was released in a 2011 prisoner swap, according to a Palestinian NGO.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners Club, Israel’s Ofer Military Court reinstated an 18-year jail term and a full life sentence handed down earlier against Nael al-Barghouthi, a Palestinian from the West Bank village of Kobar.
Issa Qaraqe, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)'s committee on prisoners’ affairs, described the move as “racist” and “arbitrary”.
Israel’s reinstatement of the jail sentences against al-Barghouthi “lacks all legal justification”, Qaraqe told Anadolu Agency.
Al-Barghouthi, 59, was rearrested by Israeli authorities in June 2014 and sentenced to 30 months in jail. He is now the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner in Israeli custody, with a whopping 34 years behind bars.
In a 2011 prisoner swap with Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, Israel freed 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was captured by Hamas in 2006.
But at least 60 of the Palestinians freed in the deal were rearrested last summer in a wide-ranging Israeli crackdown in which hundreds of West Bank Palestinians were rounded up following the death of three Jewish settlers.
According to official Palestinian figures, over 7,000 Palestinians are currently languishing in Israeli prisons.