Israeli ministers back bill to curb prisoner releases

The Ofer Prison near Jerusalem. Credit: Magister via Wikimedia Commons.

( Israel’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday approved draft legislation that would make it illegal to release terrorists convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison as part of prisoner swaps and peace gestures.

Seven ministers from the Habayit Hayehudi and Likud-Beiteinu parties supported the bill, outnumbering three ministers from Hatnuah and Yesh Atid who opposed the measure. The bill still needs to pass several Knesset Plenum votes before it becomes law.

Current Israeli law empowers the president to pardon convicted criminals or commute their sentences. Under the proposed legislation, courts may deny terrorists any form of clemency if they are sentenced to life in prison.

The bill’s preamble says the legislation would “prevent a situation where political pressure results in a prisoner swap or gestures that involve the pardoning of terrorists who have committed murders,” according to Israel Hayom.

Posted on May 11, 2014 .