A military court has ordered the release on Tuesday of 18 Hamas lawmakers, including three Cabinet ministers, but the men remained behind bars for at least two more days pending an appeal. For a Jerusalem Online video of events click here The IDF arrested more than two-dozen Hamas lawmakers since June after terrorists in Gaza linked to the group attacked a military post, capturing Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit.
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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 the politicians should be freed on bail while their trials continue.
Shalit's father, Noam, told Arab media in a press conference Tuesday that no one updated him on the court's decision to release the Hamas men on bail.
"I am not aware, am not familiar with the issue. Maybe it is somehow connected with Gilad's release," he said. Shalit added that he was aware of ongoing contacts regarding his son's release, but did not know of a finalized deal.
The military court said the lawmakers should be freed on bail while their trials continue.
Prosecutors appealed the ruling. The court is scheduled to issue a final ruling on Thursday.
Israeli human rights lawyer Leah Tzemel, who is not involved in the case, said the army's court system rarely disputes the military's cases against Palestinians.
"I think they simply don't have the evidence needed and this case should not have begun," she said.
Palestinian leaders have said the detentions were illegal and demanded the freedom of the Hamas politicians.