The oldest Palestinian prisoner incarcerated in Israel, Fouad Choubaki, 83, was released on Monday (March 13th) after serving a 17-year sentence for arms trafficking, Palestinian sources said.
A senior figure in Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Fouad Choubaki was arrested in 2002 by Palestinian security forces during the Second Intifada (the Palestinian uprising of 2000-2005) before being captured by Israeli forces.
The freighter Karine A
He was accused of having attempted to smuggle arms from Iran to the Gaza Strip aboard a cargo ship, the Karine A, seized in the Red Sea by the Israeli army in January 2002. Fouad Choubaki "
has was released today (Monday) from Ashkelon prison (southern Israel) and is on his way to Ramallah
", in the occupied West Bank, a spokesman for the Palestinian Prisoners' Club, an association of defending the rights of Palestinians detained by Israel.
His son Hazem Choubaki confirmed his release to AFP.
Fouad Choubaki had been detained between 2002 and March 2006 in Jericho prison, in the so-called autonomous Palestinian zone, in the center of the West Bank, under the surveillance of British and American observers, until he was captured, with other Palestinians, during an Israeli army operation against this prison in the occupied West Bank.
A Fatah financier, he was accused by Israel of being one of those responsible for chartering the Karine A, which according to the Israeli authorities was carrying 50 tons of weapons, including Katyusha rockets, anti-tank missiles and explosives , provided by Iran and the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah.
Found guilty by an Israeli military court, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
This sentence was later reduced to 17 years.