High Court Approves Prisoner Release

Aviram Zino

High Court Approves Prisoner Release

Judges reject petition filed by Almagor Terror Victims Association, say must not interfere in government decision. Justice Elyakim Rubinstein only judge to oppose decision, saying list of prisoners does not include ‘go-getters or people convicted for smoking inside a cinema’. Release to begin Friday morning



The High Court of Justice on Thursday eveningi rejected a petition filed by the Almagor Terror Victims Association against the release of 250 Fatah prisoners scheduled for Friday.

According to the judges, the release is a government decision and they must not interfere in it.

The decision was made according to the ruling of Deputy Supreme Court President Eliezer Rivlin, who was joined by Justice Salim Joubran. Justice Elyakim Rubinstein opposed the decision.

Justice Rivlin wrote in the decision, “We did not find a reason to interfere in the State’s decision.

“In this case, like in previous and similar cases in which the government decided to release prisoners before they have completed their sentence, we are talking about a political decision subject to the authority of the government, which is operating as part of its responsibility and forming its opinion according to the overall security and political considerations involved in the matter.”

Justice Rubinstein wrote that he could not agree with his colleagues, and asked to issue a conditional order, claiming that all the required explanations for this sensitive issue had not been received.

“I reviewed the list of the candidates for release published by the Justice Ministry on the internet, which I believe most of the public does not review. A significant number of them were convicted for the most severe and serious offenses, such as shooting at a person, attempting to intentionally cause death and even attempted murders, not to mention offenses of using weapons or planting a bomb.”

According to Rubinstein, the people on the list were not “go-getters or people convicted of smoking inside a cinema.”

Justice Rivlin replied, “My friend, Justice E. Rubinstein, has taken trouble to examine the data referring to certain prisoners, and he is elaborating on his important reservations on their matter. This detailed review has already been carried out by the ministerial committee, as the State informed us, and I myself do not see any room for carrying out such a review here.”

PLFP Deputy Secretary-general to Be Freed

The list of the Palestinian prisoners scheduled to be released as part of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s gestures to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was published on Tuesday by the Israel Prison Service (IPS).

Among those scheduled for release is PLFP deputy secretary-general Abdel Rahim Mallouh. Considered the most senior political prisoner arrested since the beginning of the second intifada, Mallouh was one of the more moderate forces in the PLFP.

He was arrested in 2002 during an IDF operation in Ramallah and charged with affiliation in an illegal organization. He was scheduled for release in 2009.

The prisoners’ list was finalized by Olmert and Abbas on Monday and includes prisoners affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front from the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and Fatah.

The list was approved earlier Tuesday by a special ministerial committee headed by the prime minister and was posted on the IPS website.

According to the guidelines approved by the government, none of the prisoners scheduled for release have “blood on their hands”.

Those named were jailed for a variety of lesser offenses, including weapons trafficking, possession of ammunition and explosives, affiliation in an illegal organization, attempted murder and aiding and abetting fugitives. The list also includes six women and 11 minors.

All of the security prisons in Israel have upped their level of alertness in anticipation of Friday’s release.