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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Keeping murderers in jail

One of the most frustrating things for families of terror victims is seeing their loved ones' murderers released as 'gestures' or in 'prisoner exchanges.' Michael Palmer, the father and grandfather, respectively, of Asher and Yehonatan Palmer HY"D (May God Avenge their blood), may have hit upon a way to inhibit the release of his loved ones. It's called a civil lawsuit.
Palmer and lawyer Adrian Agassi hope that such a large monetary judgment will block any future attempt to free Arjeh in any prisoner release deal as well as setting a precedent for other victims to follow to block their murderers from being released.
According to Agassi, the monetary damages for a murder victim’s family in such cases are equivalent to a special fine which, according to general legal principles, must be paid off before prisoners can be released, regardless of the amount of time they are sentenced to prison.
Agassi says that means that even if Israel wanted to commute a prisoner like Arjeh’s sentence, someone (the Palestinians or Israel) would need to foot the bill before the prisoner could be released.
If the bill is around NIS 10m., Agassi said, he believes it might be intimidating enough to dissuade Israel and the Palestinians from releasing a specific prisoner and may cause them to pass over to another prisoner or a different issue.
He also said that due to some procedural peculiarities regarding the status of the Military Courts, if the government tried to sidestep such a fine, he might be able to bring in the High Court of Justice to stop it.
Agassi noted that, “It’s more of a moral victory and a statement of intent to all concerned – that we will fight them – the terrorists and the morally bankrupt government of Israel – for justice, and make it as hard as possible, legally and morally, to release terrorists – who then go and return to terror – in the name of peace.”
 It's a nice idea and I really hope and pray that he succeeds... But I have my doubts. If it came down to it, I would bet on the government of Israel footing the bill, or on the Supreme Court finding a way around it. I wouldn't bet on the High Court of Justice stopping a release - they'd just say it's a political question.

Sad but true - there is very little protection for terror victims or their families in Israel today.

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