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  2005-02-13—Israel-prisoner release
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2005 blog


Palestinian prisoners who served two-thirds 
of term top priority for release by Israelis
,  Feb. 13, 2005

Israel's Ministerial Committee recommended today (Sunday, Feb. 13) that 500 Palestinian prisoners be released as part of the ongoing accords between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. 

Prisoners who have already completed two-thirds of their terms have the highest probability of being released. This group will not include prisoners who, regardless, would have completed their sentences by or before the end of February.

The Ministerial Committee decided to ask the full Cabinet to reaffirm a decision made July 27, 2003, to refuse to release any prisoner who has not completed two-thirds of his sentence.

A list of 400 additional prisoners for later release is being formulated to bring the number up to the 900 announced earlier this month at the Sharm el-Sheikh conference, according to the prime minister's office.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon described prisoner release as "neither an easy nor a simple step but it is possible that this gesture will both assist the Palestinian Authority in establishing its control and increase mutual confidence between the sides."

The exact date the first 500 prisoners will be released will be decided by Justice Ministry director General Aharon Abramowitz in coordination with Maj. Gen. Yoav Gallant, military secretary to the prime minister.              —Donald H. Harrison