Legislation ensuring murderers will remain in prison for at least 15 years passed its preliminary vote with 19 MKs in favor and seven opposed on Wednesday.

The bill – submitted by MK David Tsur (Hatnua) – increases the minimum amount of time in prison before someone serving a life sentence can turn to the parole board from seven years to 15. The bill also proposes that those serving more than one life sentence may only ask for parole after 20 years – as opposed to 15 according to the current law – and may not get parole until he or she has been in prison for at least 40 years.

“Freeing prisoners who committed severe crimes and were sentenced to life in prison makes the public distrust the legal system and rule of law,” the bill’s explanatory portion reads. “The current system puts distance between the symbolism of a life sentence and the reality, which is shorter.”

According to Tsur, for someone serving a life sentence to be let out on parole after only seven years undermines attempts to deter people from murdering.

“It turns the courts’ decisions into a theoretical recommendation and nothing more,” he said.

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