(January 21, 2019 / JNS) A Palestinian-American who was sentenced to life last month by the Palestinian Authority for selling land to Israelis was released to U.S. authorities, two senior Palestinian officials told Reuters.
“Issam Akel holds an American passport, and he was handed over to the U.S. authorities upon their request,” one senior security official, who asked not to be named, told the outlet on Sunday.
A second official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed Akel’s release. Both declined to give any more details.
A U.S. State Department official told JNS, “The Department of State takes its obligation to assist U.S. citizens abroad seriously.”
The Israeli embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.
Akel, 55, was prosecuted for selling an Arab-owned home in Jerusalem to the Ateret Cohanim organization, a yeshivah group that has bought properties in the Muslim quarter of the Old City and in strategic places around the Holy Basin area of Jerusalem.