Hamas lawmaker refuses release on bail

08:05, July 19, 2010      

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A Hamas lawmaker said on Sunday he would rather stay in Israeli captivity in Jerusalem than leave his hometown, according to his lawyer.

Israel told Mohammed Abu Tair he can be released on bail on condition that he never returns to Jerusalem, but the lawmaker chose to be detained, rejecting the Israeli offer, his lawyer Fadi Qawassmi told Xinhua.

Abu Tair was arrested in 2006 after winning a seat in the Palestinian Legislative Council on Hamas' list. Israel detained most of Hamas' lawmakers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as the movement captured the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in a raid near Gaza.

On May 20, Israel freed Abu Tair, ordering him and another two Jerusalme-based Hamas lawmakers and a former Hamas minister to leave the city within a month and depriving them of their Israeli- issued Jerusalem identity.

Abu Tair was arrested again on June 30 after he ignored the one-month deadline to leave. His colleagues pitched a tent in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross headquarters in East Jerusalem to protest against the Israeli decision to expel them from the city.

It has been the second time Abu Tair rejected to pay the 50,000 Shekels (about 13,000 U.S. dollars) bail, the lawyer said, adding that it means he would stay in prison until a further notice.

The Palestinian National Authority strongly condemned the expulsion orders and asked the United States, which sponsors the indirect proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians, to press Israel to cancel these procedures in the city that the Palestinians want as a future capital.

Source: Xinhua


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