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MK Ben-Ari: Why Barghouti Allowed to Interview?

After Prisons Service failed to punish terrorist Marghouti Bargouti for giving unauthorized media interviews, MK Ben Ari asks court to step in.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 11/25/2009, 1:18 PM / Last Update: 11/25/2009, 1:23 PM

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Knesset Member Dr. Michael Ben-Ari and several other petitioners filed a motion to the High Court Wednesday against the Prisons Authority Commissioner, the Prisons Authority, the Minister for Interior Security and convicted terror prisoner Marwan Barghouti. They are demanding that the defendants be required to say “why they have not replied to the plaintiffs' inquiry why Barghouti was not put on trial for interviews he granted to different media without any permission.”

If Bargouti has been tried, the punishment meted to him should be published, the plaintiffs added. Barghouti is serving five life sentences for murder.

The plaintiffs – who, besides Ben Ari, include his parliamentary aide Itamar Ben Gvir and the SOS Israel group, noted that “in the past four months, Defendant Number 4 [Barghouti] began giving a series of interviews to the media, as if he were an important public figure. His personality came up for renewed public debate and he was mentioned as one who is well-versed in the details of the deal for release of the captive soldier Gilad Shalit – a deal the details of which the military censor is hiding with great efficiency, leaving Defendant Number 4 as one of the only people speaking freely about the deal without the censor's restrictions.”

Barghouti's name has been mentioned as one of the terrorists who might be released in return for Shalit, the petitioners noted, and he has “made use of these rumors and the special status accorded him by some journalists – especially haters of Israel – and chose to give interviews to Arab media as well as to the Reuters news agency to get his messages across.”

The plaintiffs mentioned in their earlier letter to the Prisons Authority that unlike Barghouti, who received lenient treatment over his interviews, Jewish prisoner Yigal Amir was sentenced to six months in solitary confinement for granting interviews without permission.