An Israeli court has ordered a senior Hamas member to complete his life sentence after the Palestinian prisoner was freed in a 2011 swap of 1,027 inmates in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held by Hamas, a Palestinian activist said Thursday.
At the time of the exchange, Nael Barghouti had served 33 years for participating in the kidnapping and killing of an Israeli soldier, making him one of the longest-held Palestinians. He was first arrested in 1978 at the age of 20.
Israel has since rearrested scores of Palestinians on charges of resuming terror activities. At least six Israelis have been killed by terrorists freed in the 2011 exchange for Shalit, who had been abducted by the terror group in 2006.
One Israeli roundup of the Shalit prisoners came after three Israeli teens, Gil-ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Fraenkel, were killed by a Hamas cell in 2014.
Barghouti, 59, arrested in that sweep, subsequently served 30 months for Hamas membership. He completed the sentence on December 17, 2016, but was never released.
Qadoura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club and close friend of senior Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, said Thursday that a military court on Wednesday reinstated Barghouti’s original sentence on appeal, life plus 18 years.
There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military on the issue.
Palestinians in Ramallah protested the sentence in a sit-in organized by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs and other groups, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported.
“The Israeli crime against Barghouti is part of the policy of Israeli occupation to burn the youth of Palestine by putting them behind bars where they will waste their years experiencing Israel’s punitive and racist procedures,” senior PLO member Abu Saleh Hisham told Ma’an.
Many of the prisoners released in the deal, however, returned to terror activity.
In April 2014, a few hours before the Passover Seder, Baruch Mizrachi was shot dead in a roadside attack near Hebron. The 48-year-old Israel Police superintendent was killed by Ziad Awwad, a Hamas operative released in the prisoner swap.
Mahmoud Kawasame, one of the Hamas operatives who abducted and killed the Israeli teenagers Fraenkel, Shaar and Yifrach in June 2014 in a shocking attack that was among the triggers of the war in Gaza a month later, had also been released by Israel. Kawasame was originally imprisoned for his involvement in a 2004 suicide bus bombing in Beersheba that killed 16 Israelis. He was eventually shot dead by IDF soldiers.
Osama As’ad, a 29-year-old arms dealer from the West Bank refugee camp of Qalandia, who was imprisoned by Israel for selling weapons used in attacks and released under the Shalit deal, was rearrested for the lethal West Bank shooting of Danny Gonen in June 2016.
Ahmad Najjar, a Hamas operative, was said to have orchestrated and funded the West Bank shooting attack that killed Malachy Rosenfeld in June 2016 from Jordan. Before being released in the Shalit prisoner exchange, Najjar spent eight years in an Israeli prison for his involvement in previous terror attacks that killed three Israelis.
The terror group’s new leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, was sentenced to life in 1989 for murdering Palestinian collaborators with Israel, spent 22 years in Israeli prisons before being released in the 2011 prisoner exchange agreement.