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Prisoner released leads to celebrations in Awarta

18th March 2014 | International Solidarity Movement, Nablus Team | Awarta, Occupied Palestine

Yesterday in the village of Awarta, 26-year-old Rais Abdat was released from an Israeli prison.

Three years ago, two youths from Awarta killed a settler from the nearby illegal settlement of Itemar, and for this act they both received five life sentences. In response, Israeli forces arrested approximately 18 young men and women from the village. Rais Abdat was one of these men.

Rais was not convicted of the crime he was arrested for, yet he was sentenced to 38 months in prison. A member of his family believes this is due to his activism and political affiliations.

10 of the men and women arrested three years ago remain imprisoned, included Rais’ cousin Walid Abdat (24-years-old) who is due to be released in July.

Today Rais was released from Salem Court in Jenin to joyous reactions from his friends and family.

Although he has now been released, Rais has lost three years of his life due to the Israeli occupation. Before he was imprisoned Rais was a university student studying Arabic, as a family member commented, he will return to his studies although it may take some time to adjust to his newfound freedom.

According to Addameer (Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association) as of January 1st 2014 there are currently 5,023 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention centres. This includes 155 administrative detainees, 17 women and 154 children.