President Shimon Peres today commuted the sentences of seven security prisoners that were given life sentences prior to the Oslo agreements, following years of Israeli refusal to do so, Haaretz reports. The decision was reached after a special committee that was convened to discuss the matter suggested to Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman that he commute the sentences.
Over the years, the security services have stood firm in their refusal to release the prisoners, all of whom have blood on their hands, in any kind of prisoner exchanges. The committee members did not reach unanimous decisions on each sentence. For many of the prisoners, the committee suggested a range by which to shorten the sentence. Neeman and Peres chose the strictest option for each one.
Among the prisoners is Karim Younis, considered to be a leader among security prisoners in Israeli gails, and his cousin, Maher Younis Ara, who were convicted of being involved in the murder of Avraham Bromberg, an IDF soldier from Zichron Yaakov in 1980. The two have been serving a life sentence since 1983. The committee suggested commuting their sentences by 35 to 40 years. Bromberg, who was 20 years old, was shot in the head, and his weapon was stolen. A few days later, he succumbed to his wounds.
Following the deal to release Gilad Shalit, Younis sent a letter to Hamas leadership, in which he wrote that the release of Arab prisoners from Israeli prisons as a result of the deal was like a knife in his, and his cousin’s backs. Their uncle, Sami Younis, believed to be the oldest prisoner in Israeli custody, was released as part of the Shalit deal.
Read the full report from Haaretz.