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Longest-held Palestinian prisoner still detained despite serving latest sentence

Nov. 21, 2016 9:09 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 25, 2016 4:56 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities have not released a Palestinian prisoner, who has spent more than 35 years of his life in Israeli prisons, despite him having served the entirety of his 30-month sentence, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs said in a statement on Monday.

The committee said that Nael Barghouthi was one of more than 50 Palestinian prisoners who had been released in a prisoner swap deal in 2011 but who had since been redetained.

Israeli forces first detained Barghouthi in 1978 when he was 20 years old for alleged membership in an armed resistance group.

He was released in the 2011 swap deal between Israel and the Hamas movement to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held by Israeli.

At the time, Barghouthi was one of the Palestinians who had served the longest time in Israeli custody, having spent 33 years behind bars.

Israeli forces redetained Barghouthi in 2014, claiming that he had broken the terms of his release.

Since the Shalit deal, Israel has initiated mass detention campaigns to bring hundreds of former prisoners released in the exchange back into Israeli custody, in violation of the agreement.

Hamas has repeatedly insisted that Israel must release all prisoners who were freed as part of the deal but have since been redetained, before starting talks in a new prisoner swap deal.

According to Palestinian prisoners' rights group Addameer, some 7,000 Palestinians were held in Israeli custody as of October, 15 of whom were serving more than 25 years in prison.
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