Escaped prisoner found in West Bank 13 years after not returning from furlough

IDF and prisoner service officers raid Nablus home and take man into custody without incident.

October 29, 2013 17:00
1 minute read.
Handcuffs (illustrative photo)

Handcuffs (illustrative photo) 370. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Thirteen years after his legal furlough was supposed to end, Mahmoud Sharaf was taken into custody after he was found by Prisons Service officers at his home in Nablus.

Over the past 13 years he has spent on the run, Sharaf has managed to marry, father four children and enjoy a quiet life living under an assumed name in the West Bank city of Nablus.

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On Tuesday his life on the run came to an end when IDF troops and officers from the Prisons Service’s elite Masada unit raided his Nablus home and took him into custody without incident. He will now finish serving the rest of his sentence in Hadarim Prison and could face added time for the escape.

Sivan Weitzman, spokeswoman for the Prisons Service, said that Sharaf was living a rather quiet life, for the most part staying home and keeping a low profile, mainly only spending time with his wife and four kids. He was found following a lengthy investigation, in which security forces gathered intelligence about his believed whereabouts, she said.

She added that at the moment they’re not sure what type of work he was doing all these years, or if he ever tried to flee abroad.

In 1991 Sharaf and two other codefendants were sentenced to life in prison for murder, aggravated robbery and causing bodily harm, for the murder and robbery of a security guard at a bank branch in Taiba.

In keeping with Prisons Service regulations, the three men became eligible for the furlough after serving a quarter of the life sentence (30 years in Israel) and were not judged to be a danger to the public. The other two men also fled during the furlough, but were caught years ago in hiding places in the West Bank.

Sharaf was by no means the first Israeli inmate to flee during a furlough.

In 2004, Moshe Ben-Ivgi, convicted of the murder of cab driver Derek Roth in 1994 along with Arbel Aloni, famously fled overseas with a fake passport during a furlough and made his way to Argentina, where he managed to disappear, until he was arrested by Argentinian police and imprisoned three years later. That furlough was awarded to the two youths even though during a 1998 furlough they carried out a violent armed robbery of a grocery store.

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