middle east

Jailed Palestinian-American transferred to US: Report

Issam Akel, sentenced to life in prison by Palestinian Authority for selling property to Jews, handed over to US under deal

  | 18.01.2019
Jailed Palestinian-American transferred to US: Report

Ankara

By Gulsen Topcu

JERUSALEM

A Palestinian-American man who received a life sentence for selling Arab-owned property to Jews has been released to the United States, Israel’s Kan 11 TV channel said Thursday.

Gal Berger, a correspondent for the state-owned channel, said the U.S. and Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) reached a secret agreement three days ago to release 53-year-old Issam Akel and deliver him to the U.S.

The PA was under tremendous Israeli and U.S. pressure to release Akel, Berger added.

No official statement on Berger's claim has been made by the PA, Israel or the U.S.

Akel was arrested by the PA last September and sentenced to life in prison and hard labor.

He was accused of being a middleman between a Palestinian owner of a home in occupied East Jerusalem and Ateret Cohanim, the Jewish organization that purchased it.

The organization is working to establish a Jewish majority in the Old City and East Jerusalem.

Among Palestinians, selling Arab property to Israelis is considered a criminal offense.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman publicly demanded last November that the PA release the dual national.

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