Hamas convicts Gazan man who met Israelis on Zoom, but says he’ll be freed

Gaza’s Hamas authorities have convicted three Palestinian peace campaigners who were jailed last April for holding an online video conference with Israeli participants, but rules that they will not spend more time in jail, a rights group and the main defendant’s family say.

Rami Aman, 39, was detained in April along with seven members of his Gaza Youth Committee group after holding a two-hour Zoom meeting. The event drew dozens of peace activists, including Israelis.

Rami Aman, 38, speaks to Israeli activists during a videoconference in April, before being arrested by Hamas authorities (Screenshot: Youtube)

Hamas, an Islamic terror group that opposes Israel’s existence and openly advocates for its destruction, pressed treason charges against Aman and a colleague, but released five of the detainees days later.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, which defended Aman, says a military court has suspended the remainder of the defendants’ one-year sentences and released them.

Aman’s family confirms that their son has arrived home, but declines to comment further.

The rare Zoom conference bringing Israelis and Gazans together was advertised on a Facebook event page and some Israeli participants published a recording of the discussions, prompting fierce condemnations of Aman and other Gaza participants. Hamas-run security forces then made the arrests.

Since seizing power in 2007 in a bloody coup, Hamas has fought three wars against Israel, and anti-Israel sentiment is common in Gaza.

— Agencies

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