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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

December 10, 2002

Court orders Jericho prisoner's release

Lock 'em up; cut 'em loose: No wonder Israel has to take care of terrorists their own way.
The Palestinian high court has ordered the release of a high-ranking Palestinian official jailed over an attempt to smuggle tons of weapons by ship from Iran to the Gaza Strip.

Fuad Shobaki, former financier to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, was imprisoned in May after Israel accused him of involvement in the so-called Karine-A affair.

If we remove Shobaki from where he is right now, he may be abducted or killed by the Israelis.

Mr Shobaki has been held under international guard at a jail in Jericho, the only West Bank city not under Israeli control.

Israel said his release would violate a deal under which Israel relented in its demand that the Palestinian Authority (PA) extradite Mr Shobaki to face trial in Israel.

Senior aides to Mr Arafat, who must approve the release, said it was unlikely the prisoner would be freed because of international repercussions.