Taysir Hayeb, a soldier who fatally shot a British peace activist, will be released from prison next month, a year and a half early, a military committee ruled on Monday.

Twenty-two year-old Tom Hurndall was shot in Rafah in April 2003 and died after nine months in a coma. The photographer was working at the time as a volunteer for the International Solidarity Movement and was documenting the group’s work in the area.

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Accounts from the time of the shooting have differed, but it has been reported that Hayeb shot the unarmed Hurndall as he was trying to help Palestinian children move away from an exchange of live gunfire. Hayeb was convicted of manslaughter and several other charges, including obstruction of justice, and was sentenced to eight years imprisonment in 2005. He served three years in a military prison, after which he was transferred to begin a rehabilitation program with the Israel Prison Service. He will have served six and a half year before being released for good behavior.


Hayeb’s lawyer told the committee that his client’s rehabilitation had been a success. Hayeb said he was engaged and wanted to start a family. The committee dismissed the military prosecutor’s contention that a sentence reduction could damage relations between Israel and the UK, and said that in its view he no longer posed a threat to society.

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