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Israel imprisons Palestinian ex-mayor for aiding Hamas

[JURIST] The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) [official website] announced Tuesday that a military court had sentenced a former West Bank mayor to six years in prison after finding him guilty of belonging to and assisting the militant group Hamas [JURIST news archive; CFR backgrounder]. Former Mayor Hatam Ridah Jarrar (also "Grar"), of the city of Jenin, was convicted last week of membership in a terrorist organization. An army statement quoted the court's sentence as saying that Jarrar had used his position to aid Hamas [Reuters report]. According to the statement, the court treated Jarrar's status as an orthopedic surgeon as an aggravating factor [AFP report] in sentencing because he was "expected to save human lives." Jarrar also must serve three years' probation. Ha'aretz has more.

Jarrar had spent more than two years in custody since the Israeli military detained more than 20 Palestinian officials [JURIST report] following the 2006 abduction of IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit [JURIST news archive] in Gaza. This June, the Israeli Supreme Court upheld a law [JURIST report] allowing the indefinite detention of unlawful combatants suspected of belonging to terrorist groups. Israel [JURIST news archive] and Hamas have so far failed to negotiate a prisoner exchange [JURIST report].

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