Dean of Palestinian prisoners in Israel, 83, freed

He was the oldest Palestinian prisoner in Israel. Fouad Choubaki, 83, was released on Monday after serving a 17-year prison term for arms trafficking, Palestinian sources said.

Senior figure in Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, he was arrested in 2002 by Palestinian security forces during the Second Intifada (the Palestinian uprising of 2000-2005) before being captured by Israeli forces. He was accused of having tried to smuggle weapons from Iran to the Gaza Strip aboard a cargo ship, the Karine A, boarded in the Red Sea by the Israeli army in January 2002.

A 17-year prison sentence

Fouad Choubaki “was released today [lundi] from Ashkelon prison [sud d’Israël] and is on the way to Ramallah”, in the occupied West Bank, told AFP a spokesman for the Palestinian Prisoners Club, an association for the defense of the rights of Palestinians detained by Israel. His son Hazem Choubaki confirmed his release to AFP.

Fouad Choubaki had been detained between 2002 and March 2006 in Jericho prison, in the so-called autonomous Palestinian zone, in the center of the West Bank, under the surveillance of British and American observers, until he was captured, with other Palestinians, during an Israeli army operation against this prison in the occupied West Bank. Found guilty by an Israeli military court, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. This sentence was later reduced to 17 years.

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