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Almagor to Challenge Second Phase of Shalit Deal

Almagor Terror Victims’ Association to appeal to the Supreme Court against the release of terrorists as part of the Shalit deal.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 12/18/2011, 4:34 AM

Almagor head Meir Indor
Almagor head Meir Indor
Yoni Kempinski

The Almagor Terror Victims’ Association will file an appeal with the Supreme Court on Sunday against the release of terrorists as part of the second phase of the Shalit prisoner exchange deal. One of the appellants is Yitzchak Maoz, whose daughter Tehila was murdered in the suicide attack at the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem in 2001.

Israel agreed to release 1,026 terrorists in exchange for Shalit, who was returned by Hamas in October, after five and a half years in captivity. 477 terrorists were released at that time, in the first stage of the deal.

Almagor chairman Meir Indor told Arutz Sheva on Saturday evening that some of the terrorists being released in the second phase are “heavy terrorists”, some of whom have served only thirty percent of their sentences.

“It is unreasonable and disproportionate that terrorists with only three months left to serve will remain in prison and terrorists who have many years left will be freed just because they belong to Fatah,” said Indor.

Indor said that the organization has written a letter to the Israeli government in which it urges it “to replace the more dangerous terrorists with ones who are less dangerous.” He added that Cabinet members were surprised to hear the organization’s arguments regarding the second phase of the deal.

“We ask you to carefully review our request to check each terrorist and examine whether it would not be appropriate to replace him with a terrorist whose actions are less severe and whose time in prison is set to end shortly,” the organization wrote in the letter.

“If you have a terrorist who is not due to be released for another five years and there is a terrorist with half a year left, you should release the terrorist with the shorter time even if he belongs to the organization that you do not wish to honor,” added the organization.

“Preserving the justice system is what needs to stand before your eyes, and not political considerations and preferring one organization over the other. According to our information, the government decided not to release terrorist belonging to Hamas so that Fatah and the Palestinian Authority will receive their share of terrorists. Under these circumstances the Israeli government preferred to release Fatah terrorists who still have several years left in prison over Hamas terrorists whose sentence will end in six months.”

Almagor also asked the government not to release 212 terrorists who have not served 70% of their sentence. “We are not giving up the very struggle against the release of terrorists, but if you decide to release terrorists, we ask that you not release such severe cases and reexamine the list.”

On Wednesday, the Israel Prison Service (IPS) uploaded the list of prisoners designated to be released in the second stage of the Gilad Shalit deal to its website.

Meanwhile, the Shurat HaDin legal rights group filed a petition with the High Court requesting that the release be postponed, in order to allow relatives of individuals harmed by the terrorists to express their opinions.

The petition by Shurat HaDin, filed by Attorney Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, says that now that Shalit has been released, there was time enough “to conduct this arrangement in a democratic manner and not keep information hidden. In a proper democracy citizens have the right to bring their concerns to the authorities in order to affect the decision.”