Israeli Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Some 100 bereaved families who have lost loved ones in terrorist attacks have appealed to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to prevent the release of terrorists due to a lack of space in penitentiaries.
In a letter sent to Erdan on Wednesday night, members of the “Choose Life” forum wrote: “It has come to our attention that the Israel Prison Service intends to begin the immediate release of terrorists who aided in the murder of Israelis and were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment.”
The letter comes on the heels of a High Court ruling to improve prison conditions
so that every prisoner will be allocated at least three sq. m. of living space. Channel 2 reported that in the framework of this ruling, an estimated 700-800 criminal prisoners are expected to gain shortened prison terms, a well as some 300 security prisoners.
“More than once you promised us, the bereaved families, that you will do all you can, and will act more vigorously, to create a balance of deterrence against terrorism, and this promise is not consistent with the expected release of terrorists who have murdered innocent people. You must stand by this and prevent this shameful and inconceivable tragedy,” they added.
“We, the bereaved families who have lost what is most dear to us, expect you to prevent the expansion of the circle of blood and the addition of families to the cycle of bereavement. We demand a courageous and genuine action against terrorism. No more posts or tweets on the social networks, but a decisive action to shelve such a decision. It cannot be that jurists and bureaucrats will run Israel’s security establishment in its battle against rampant terrorism. For us, this is the declaration of World War III against us. We will not rest until you announce that this decision will be immediately rescinded.”
Erdan responded to the letter: “Contrary to what may have been understood from the letter of the bereaved families, I have demanded since the High Court ruling on the living space of the prisoners to distinguish between criminal prisoners and terrorists. The Justice Ministry refused and claimed that it was unconstitutional, and therefore no such distinction was included in the administrative release law which is currently being debated by the Knesset.”
He added that he had informed Chairman of the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee Yoav Kisch that he supports an exemption of security prisoners from law from which the security prisoners will be released. “We must not allow a shortening of the punishment of terrorists
," Erdan asserted.
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