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Israel re-arrests previously jailed Palestinian-Belgian man

Israeli police officers are seen in front of the Dome of the Rock after the mosque reopened in Jerusalem on 14 January 2019 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]
Israeli police officers are seen in front of the Dome of the Rock after the mosque reopened in Jerusalem on 14 January 2019 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

The Israeli occupation forces yesterday arrested a Palestinian-Belgian citizen, who was released last week after being held in Israeli prisons, hours before he was to board his flight heading to the Belgian capital of Brussels.

“A Palestinian-Belgian citizen, who was released from a short jail term in Israel under the early release procedure, was returned to prison on the orders of the Israel Security Agency Shin Bet,” the Israeli daily Haaretz said.

Mustafa Awad, 37, was arrested in July and had been held in Israel’s Gilboa Prison until last week. He was arrested for attempting to the occupied West Bank to visit his relatives. In August, an Israeli court convicted Awad of being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and sentenced to one year in prison.

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On 25 February, the Israel Prison Service’s unit ordered Awad’s release after it had said that there were “no negative intelligence information about him.”

“There was no change in the Shin Bet’s position that the early release of the prisoner, who was serving a prison sentence for serious security offences, could endanger state security and public safety,” the Shin Bet spokesperson was quoted by Haartez at the time as saying.

Awad’s attorney, Leah Tsemel, described the reservation of his client’s release was “illegal.” “Only a representative of the Israeli attorney general can ask for a release decision to be reconsidered,” Tsemel stressed.  Tsemel was reported to have submitted an urgent administrative petition to void Awad’s second detention decision.

Awad is the son of a refugee family from Acre who was born in Lebanon and became a Belgian citizen as a child.

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