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Israel refuses to release longest-serving Palestinian prisoner

The longest-serving Palestinian prisoner, Nael Barghouthi
The longest-serving Palestinian prisoner, Nael Barghouthi

The Israeli military court in Ofer Prison yesterday rejected a petition calling for it to release the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner Nael Al-Barghouthi, the Palestinian Prisoner's Club (PPC) said.

In a statement the PPC said that the Ofer Military Court decided to maintain 18 life sentences against the Palestinian prisoner, citing a "secret file" against him.

Al-Barghouthi, 65, has been in prison for 43 years. He had previously been released under a prisoner swap deal between Palestinian resistance group Hamas and Israel. However, he was rearrested in 2014 and his sentence reinstated.

His defence lawyer filed a petition with the Israeli High Court four years ago demanding Al-Barghouthi's release based on the terms of the prisoner swap deal which states that Israel cannot re-arrest freed prisoners and reinstate their sentences.

At least 47 Palestinians who were freed under the terms of the 2011-prisoner swap deal have been rearrested and had their sentences reinstated, Palestinian sources said.

READ: Israel contemplates barring UN envoy from entering Occupied Palestine Territories 

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