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Neeman Considering Easing Sentences of Jewish Prisoners

Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman is considering easing the sentences Jewish prisoners, but is not acting to release them.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/9/2011, 5:14 AM

Yaakov Neeman
Yaakov Neeman
Flash 90

Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman is considering easing the sentences of some of the Jewish prisoners currently serving time in Israeli prisons.

Neeman has reportedly given Attorney Ami Palmor, who heads the Justice Ministry’s Pardons Department, a list of names of Jewish prisoners as a first step in the easing of their sentences.

The Justice Minister, however, has not acted to release the prisoners as has been demanded by their families, particularly in light of the Shalit deal which saw Israel releasing 1,027 Arab terrorists in exchange for abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Among these prisoners is Dennis Alhazov who was convicted in 2009 of killing an Arab in revenge for the 2002 killing by terrorists of the IDF’s Hevron Brigade Commander Col. Dror Weinberg and eleven other Jews.

Another prisoner is Shahar Butbika, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for killing a Palestinian Authority Arab in Hevron in 2002 while, his family says, he was under emotional strain after his fellow soldiers had been killed.

Since the announcement of the Shalit deal, protests for the release of Jewish prisoners have been taking place outside the homes of both Neeman and President Shimon Peres.

Last week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was confronted in the Knesset by Shahar Butbika’s wife, Elinor, who was in the Knesset and was in the midst of giving an interview to Arutz Sheva when she spotted the Prime Minister and his entourage leaving his office.

Butbika hurried toward Netanyahu, came right up to him and called out: “Mr. Prime Minister, you released terrorists. I also want my husband home.”

Neeman’s latest move was dismissed on Tuesday by the Honenu legal aid organization, which has been working to get 11 Jewish security prisoners released.

“Any step that does not include the release of all Jewish prisoners is senseless,” the organization said in a statement. “It looks as though the term ‘general amnesty’ applies only to terrorist animals. When the government releases 1,027 terrorists there is no reason not to release all Jewish prisoners as well.

MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) also dismissed Neeman’s move and expressed his disappointment over the Justice Minister’s conduct.

“The Justice Minister’s policy is discriminatory towards Jewish prisoners who have already expressed remorse,” said Ben-Ari. “There is no concern that these prisoners will repeat the actions for which they were imprisoned.”