Hamas Releases Two Men Held Since April for Speaking with Israelis Online

Hamas security forces marching at a police academy graduation ceremony in Gaza City on July 11, 2018. (Wissam Nassar/Flash90 via JTA.org)

By Cnaan Liphshiz

Hamas authorities in Gaza released two men jailed since April for holding an online video conference with Israeli peace activists.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said a military court on Monday convicted the two men and a woman of “weakening revolutionary spirit” but released them on the basis of time served, the Associated Press reported.

Rami Aman, 39, who runs the Gaza Youth Committee group, received the heaviest sentence of one year in jail but was released with a suspended sentence, according to the report. A second unnamed defendant was also convicted and freed.

The third defendant, Manar al-Sharif, had already been released on bail in June. She was also convicted Monday but excused from serving any further jail time.

The three defendants were detained along with four others for attending a two-hour Zoom meeting titled “Skype with your enemy” that the Gaza Youth Committee helped organize as part of a bridge-building initiative. The other four detainees were released shortly after their arrest.

Several human rights groups had demanded the release of the detainees.


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