RAMALLAH: The oldest Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli jail was released on Monday after serving a 17-year sentence for arms smuggling, an advocacy group and his son said.
Fuad Shubaki, 83, was released from Ashkelon prison and is “on his way to Ramallah” in the occupied West Bank, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club said, which was confirmed by Shubaki’s son Hazem.
Shubaki, a senior member of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’ movement Fatah, was arrested by Palestinian security forces in 2002 at the height of second intifada.
He was accused of attempting to smuggle weapons from Iran to the coastal enclave of the Gaza aboard the Karine A ship, which was seized by Israel in the Red Sea.
The Israeli military claimed the ship was carrying 50 tonnes of weapons, including short-range Katyusha rockets, anti-tank missiles and explosives from Iran and the Lebanese-based movement Hezbollah.
In 2002, he was detained by the Palestinian authorities, and held in the West Bank town of Jericho under US and British supervision.
In 2006, the prison was stormed by Israeli forces and Shubaki was taken to Israel were he was tried in a military court.
He was sentenced to 20 years in jail, which was later reduced to 17 years.