Report: Israeli ministers advance bill to limit prisoner releases
Published Sunday 11/05/2014 (updated) 11/05/2014 17:24
Palestinians celebrate a prisoner release (MaanImages/File)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli government ministers voted on Sunday to advance a new bill designed to limit the release of Palestinian prisoners, media reported.
According to the Israeli news site Ynet, the bill would ban the release of "convicted killers sentenced to life terms in prison" and would allow courts to decide whether the president is allowed to pardon "murderers" on a case-by-case basis.
Pardoning or reducing the sentence of prisoners is one of the few powers granted to the Israeli president.
The bill would not only apply to Palestinian "security prisoners" but to Israeli criminals as well, the Ynet report said.
There are 5,265 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, according to prisoner rights group Addameer's April 2014 report.
Thirty of those prisoners were detained before the 1993 Oslo Accords, many for militant actions against Israelis and the Israeli army during the First Intifada against the Israeli occupation.
The release of Palestinian prisoners has played a major role in Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations. In March, Israel failed to release as agreed a fourth round of Palestinian veteran prisoners jailed before the accords, a move that contributed to the collapse of the latest round of talks.
President Mahmoud Abbas has included the release of the prisoners as a condition for a return to peace talks.