New law cancels pardons if ex-cons return to terror

Knesset passes bill requiring terrorists released in prisoner exchanges to serve the rest of their original sentences.

January 3, 2012 14:34
1 minute read.
Palestinian prisoners on bus before release [file]

Palestinian prisoners on a bus before release [file] 311 (R). (photo credit: Yannis Behrakis / Reuters)

Terrorists released in prisoner exchanges who return to terrorism will be required to serve the rest of their sentence, according to a new law.

The legislation, passed by the Knesset in its final reading late Monday night and which combines a governmental bill and legislation by MK Danny Danon (Likud), states that criminals pardoned by the president will return to prison if they commit a felony or misdemeanor before the time of their original sentence ends.

Palestinian prisoners warned against returning to terror

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Before the law passed, the president could add conditions to a pardon, but historically they have not done so. According to the new law, the president could choose not to make a pardon conditional.

However, as Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman David Rotem (Israel Beiteinu) explained when presenting the bill to the plenum, the bill makes conditional pardons the default option for presidents.

For prisoners serving a life-sentence, the condition will apply for 40 years after a presidential pardon, and if they are serving multiple life-sentences, the time period will be 50 years.

“Now it is clear that a prisoner whose punishment was eased by the president is still responsible during the conditional period, and must be very careful about behavior that is against the law,” Rotem said.

After the bill passed, with 16 in favor and none opposed, Danon said he hopes the new law will make pardoned terrorists afraid to return to terrorism.

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