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Israel authorities persist in harassing Palestinian prisoners released after 40 years

Palestinian prisoner Karim Younis, who spent 40 years of his life in Israeli prisons being greeted by Palestinians after being released in Jerusalem on January 05, 2023 [Mostafa Alkharouf/ Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian prisoner Karim Younis, who spent 40 years of his life in Israeli prisons being greeted by Palestinians after being released in Jerusalem on January 05, 2023 [Mostafa Alkharouf/ Anadolu Agency]

Israeli Occupation Forces persist in harassing the longest-serving Palestinian prisoners, Karim and Maher Younis, following their release earlier this month, after serving 40 years in Israeli prisons.

The family of Karim Younis told Wafa News Agency that, yesterday, Israeli soldiers broke into and raided their home in the Palestinian village of Ara within Israel, and seized Palestinian flags, pictures and posters that were hung to celebrate his release from a prison in the Negev.

The Israeli soldiers also detained Karim's sister-in-law, after posting orders for Karim and his brother to appear at the police station for interrogation.

Younis, along with his cousin Maher, was detained in 1983 and accused of killing an Israeli soldier in the Occupied Golan Heights, three years earlier.

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The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, pointed out that, during his years of detention, Younis embodied the most impressive forms of defiance, steadfastness and patience. His example, said Hamas, will remain a source of pride for every Palestinian, and an inspiration for further steadfastness until freedom and independence is won.

The harassment comes a week after Israeli soldiers raided the home of Maher Younis and detained him and his brother for interrogation at the police station. According to Wafa, they were later released.

The Occupation Forces started to harass Maher Younis some time before his release. He was removed from his dormitory, without notice, to prevent him from saying goodbye to his fellow prisoners. At the same time, he was threatened with imprisonment and other penalties if he ignored Israel's far-right National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir's orders not to set up a tent.

Maher Younis joined the Fatah Movement as a young man, and was accused of killing an Occupation soldier, and of possessing weapons illegally. Following his arrest in 1983, he was sentenced to death by hanging, along with his cousins, Karim and Sami Younis. The sentence was reduced on appeal to life imprisonment. In 2012, Karim and Maher Younis took legal action and succeeded in reducing the prison terms from life to 40 years.

There are 4,700 Palestinians in Israeli jails, of whom 551 are serving life sentences, according to the Palestinian Prisoners' Club.

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