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Palestinian Authority release dual US national convicted over land sales

This picture taken on January 17, 2019 from the Palestinian West Bank village of Al-Ram which shows the Israeli separation barrier [THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images]
This picture taken on January 17, 2019 from the Palestinian West Bank village of Al-Ram showing the Israeli separation barrier [THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images]

The Palestinian Authority has handed over to US authorities an American-Palestinian it had sentenced to life imprisonment for violating a ban on selling land to Israelis, two senior Palestinian officials said on Sunday, Reuters reports.

“Issam Aqel holds an American passport and he was handed over to the US authorities upon their request,” one senior security official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

A second official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed Aqel’s release.

Both declined to give any more details. Aqel’s family was not available for comment. US officials did not comment when asked about Aqel’s release.

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Aqel was convicted by a West Bank court in December of attempting to sell a property in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem without the permission of his business partners or the Palestinian authorities.

Aqel’s family has denied the allegations against him.

The US ambassador to Israel called in November for Aqel to be released, after he was first detained.

The Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and is a rival to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, said releasing Aqel was a “grave crime”.

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Asia & AmericasIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineUS
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