Bat Ayin Member Released After 13.5 Years

Ofer Gamliel released after latest attempts to block parole fall through.

Yedidya Ben-Or ,

Ofer Gamliel being led to a 2009 court hearin
Ofer Gamliel being led to a 2009 court hearin
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Bat Ayin Underground member Ofer Gamliel was released from prison on Sunday, after the parole board decided to shorten his detention period by 1.5 years. 

In 2003, Gamliel and two others from the Bat Ayin Underground laid an apparent explosive device next to a Muslim girls' school. 

Gamliel claimed that he never intended to detonate the bomb - just to instill fear in the Arab community after the wave of attacks and murders during the Second Intifada - but was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years on weapons and attempted murder charges. 

Gamliel was convicted of attempting to carry out a terrorist attack and on various weapons offenses and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. In total, he served about 13.5 years, with some time served retroactively from 2002. 

Gamliel's parole has been the subject of an ongoing legal saga. 

In 2008, Gamliel carried out a six-week hunger strike in protest of his lengthy sentence, and his dim chances of receiving early parole. Following the hunger strike, he was punished by being moved to solitary confinement.

Then, in 2013, a Prison Services board decided to grant Gamliel parole, as is often done for prisoners who have completed two-thirds of their sentence and who are not considered dangerous to the community.

The board decided on a relatively stringent release program that would have included an employment and education program, psychological treatment, a four-year ban on leaving the country, and twice-monthly check-ins with police. 

Despite Gamliel's cooperation, the Central District prosecution appealed against the decision and cancelled the arrangement. The Court ruled that Gamliel had not undergone enough rehabilitation to be considered less of a danger to the public, and ordered him to undergo further rehabilitation. A petition pushing for Gamliel's release was later rejected.  

Another petition was filed in January 2014, claiming that the parole board did not consider the full circumstances of Gamliel's imprisonment. At the time, the petition garnered a formal statement of opposition from Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein; however, the ruling held - prompting Gamliel's release.