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Victims’ reps seek to block Palestinian prisoner release

JTA

December 30, 2013 | 10:35 am

Aposter of Palestinian prisoner Rami Barbakh, right, and late Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat, ahead of the expected release of Barbakh in Khan Younis, on Dec. 30. Photo by Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters

Aposter of Palestinian prisoner Rami Barbakh, right, and late Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat, ahead of the expected release of Barbakh in Khan Younis, on Dec. 30. Photo by Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters

A group representing Israeli victims of terrorism filed a petition to block the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Twenty-six prisoners expected to be set free early Tuesday as part of the revived Israeli-Palestinian peace talks were transferred to Ofer Prison in preparation for their release.

On Monday, the organization Almagor, which represents victims of terrorism, petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court to prevent the release of six of the prisoners, who are residents of eastern Jerusalem and hold Israeli identification cards.

The prisoners, who will be released at 1 a.m. Tuesday, were being examined by the Red Cross and by doctors, and their identities were being checked.

It is the third round of Palestinian prisoner releases since the American-backed peace negotiations began in July.

[Related: Israeli ministers endorse legislation to annex part of West Bank]

The list of prisoners was published late Saturday night on the Israel Prison Service website. Anyone who objects to the release of a prisoner must appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court within 48 hours.

The prisoners to be released committed their terrorist acts before the Oslo Accords, and have served at least 19 years in an Israeli prison, according to a statement released Saturday night by the Prime Minister’s Office. “If any of those to be released resume hostile activity they will be returned to serve the remainder of their sentences,” the statement said.

Twenty-three of the prisoners were convicted of killing Israeli soldiers, civilians or Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel.

Demonstrations against the release including family members of terrorist victims have been held outside the Prime Minister’s Jerusalem residence for the last several days, with a large-scale protest and vigil planned for Monday night. While the group’s request to hold the large-scale protest beginning on Sunday night through the release was at first denied, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat told demonstrators he would see to it that they be allowed to hold the protest.

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