Lieberman freezes talks on early release for terrorists
Following revelations of establishment of committee that would consider parole requests of terrorists who serve life sentences, defense minister announces he instructed to halt proceedings pending further discussions with military advisors.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman froze on Sunday evening the appointment of the advisory committee that was supposed to consider parole requests of terrorists who were sentenced to life in prison by military courts in the West Bank.
Lieberman issued the instruction following the revelations regarding the committee’s establishment in a Yedioth Ahronoth report.
The Defense Ministry said that Lieberman intends to hold a comprehensive discussion on the issue with the IDF, the Military Advocate General and the defense establishment’s legal advisor.
The planned move was revealed during a hearing in the High Court of Justice (HCJ) regarding a parole request of a terrorist, who murdered Ziva Goldovsky, to be released from prison after serving 30 years, on the grounds that the current policy discriminates between those who are tried in West Bank’s military courts and those tried in civil courts in Israel.
The terrorist, who underwent a rehabilitation process in prison, appealed multiple times to military officials, who have full sovereignty in the West Bank, with a request to be pardoned, but it had always been rejected.
Until now, prisoners serving life sentences have been released only as part of plea deals, or due to decisions made by the political echelon, not by a relevant committee or a military source. The policy, which has been in place up to this point, did not allow the shortening of life sentences for terrorists. However, it has now been decided to equate the rights of those tried in military courts to prisoners who were convicted by civil courts.
According to legal sources, despite the establishment of the committee, the likelihood that terrorists’ life sentences will be cut down are slim, but still, it constitutes a significant policy change.
Currently there are dozens of terrorists in Israeli prisons who are serving life sentences, including those who carried out terror attacks on Israeli soil.
The establishment of the committee will be accompanied by a legislative amendment, which is currently being drafted by the IDF.
“The IDF issued an official statement following the report saying the changes being made to the current policy are minor and technical.
“The changes made on the issue of parole requests for those serving life sentences in the West Bank are procedural and technical, which deals with the process of considering requests by a committee to equate it with the same process in the Israeli prison system,” stressed the statement.
“Any attempt to present it as a change in policy or the IDF’s intention to shorten the sentences of terrorists is wrong and inappropriate. There is no relief or change in policy,” the statement continued before reiterating that the committee will not decide on parole requests but rather give recommendations to GOC Central Command, who has the authority on the matter.
“A procedural amendment has been adopted recently in the Judea and Samaria region, which will examine requests for life sentences and formulate a recommendation to the commander of the Central Command, who is authorized to decide on such requests. Life imprisonment (also for terrorist attacks in Israel).