Hamas MPs 298.88.
(photo credit: Ahmad Gharabli)
A Military court held off Monday on deciding whether 18 Hamas lawmakers should be released from prison.
The court, which ordered the lawmakers to be freed last week, made no decision on the IDF prosecutor's appeal.
The 18 Palestinian Authority parliament members will remain in custody until a decision is reached.
Military Judge Maj. Ronen Atzmon said he would inform the prisoners' attorneys when he had made a decision, but did not give a time.
Israel arrested the lawmakers in June, after Hamas-allied terrorists kidnapped IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit. The men are charged with membership and activity in an outlawed organization.
Yisrael Maimon: No deal on Gilad Shalit
Atzmon decided on September 13 to release the Hamas men on NIS 25,000 bail each.
In his decision, the military judge questioned the timing of the arrests, noting that the men were permitted to run for office and serve in the Palestinian government for months before their detentions. He said that Israel knew that the suspects, who were indicted last week for membership in a terror group, were associated with the Hamas before the elections but turned a blind eye and allowed them to be elected.
The 18 will still stand trial for illegal membership in the Hamas terror organization, however, according to the ruling, they could spend the duration of the trial at home.
MK Taleb A-Sanaa (United Arab List), who led the defense for the Hamas lawmakers, then told the Post that the court's decision was connected to the negotiations over the release of Shalit.
In recent days, officials have reported progress in Egyptian-mediated negotiations to arrange a prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas.
AP contributed to this report
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