Israel releases MP after year of administrative detention

Palestinians greet and congratulate Sheikh Hassan Youssef (C), a West Bank leader of the Hamas movement, following his release on January 19, 2014 after spending 28 months in Israeli prison

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities released Palestinian parliament member Sheikh Hassan Youssef, 60, on Thursday as he ended his administrative detention period that was extended three times while being held in prison.Youssef was detained in mid June of 2014 during a detention campaign carried out by Israeli forces across the occupied West Bank and held in the Ofer jail near Ramallah, the Ahrar Center for Prisoners and Human Rights said.He was one of hundreds of Palestinians to be detained by Israel during the campaign known as “Operation Brother’s Keeper,” which was allegedly carried out in search of three missing teenage settlers last summer, lasting until June 30 when their bodies were found.Most of those arrested during the campaign were members of Hamas, including leaders and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Palestine’s parliament.Youssef, a West Bank leader of the Hamas movement, has been detained in Israeli prisons several times before, one time released by Israel in 2011 despite having six weeks remaining of a six-year term for “membership of a terrorist organization.”The majority of Palestinian political organizations are considered illegal by Israel, including those that make up the PLO, and association with such parties is often used as grounds for imprisonment, according to prisoners’ rights group Addameer.At the time of his 2011 release, the Hamas leader stated that he didn’t support the bid for Palestinian statehood at the UN.”We don’t believe that this step is useful and won’t add anything except a few more UN resolutions,” Youssef told Ma’an at the time.Rather, “we need practical resolutions that end the occupation,” he said.Shortly before his detention in June 2014, Youssef participated in an organized a protest in support of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners and was allegedly assaulted by PA forces who were trying to prevent the rally.The freed PLC member is also known for denouncing his son, Mosab Hassan Yusef, 36, who admitted several years ago to being a top informer for Israel’s domestic security service during the Second Intifada.Youssef’s release comes shortly after speaker of the Palestinian parliament and Hamas member Aziz Duweik, 67, was released by Israeli authorities earlier this month following a year in administrative detention.Under administrative detention, a procedure dating back to the British mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, prisoners can be held for indefinitely renewable six-month periods without charge.Several members of the Palestinian parliament remain in Israeli prison, many of whom have been held under administrative detention, most recently PLC member Khalida Jarrar who has been held since April 2 despite pushes by the international community for her release.

(Source / 25.06.2015)

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