Palestinian Legislator of the Hamas affiliated Change and Reform Bloc, Ali Romanim, was released on Tuesday evening from an Israeli detention center after spending 54 months in detention. Romanim, one of the prominent Islamic leaders in Jericho, was kidnapped by Israeli military forces on June, 26, 2006, and was sentenced to 54 months.
Currently, there are six elected legislators of the Hamas movement who are still imprisoned by Israel. Dozens of elected legislators, elected mayors and members of city councils were kidnapped by the Israeli army after three resistance groups abducted Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, near the Gaza border in mid 2006.
The International Campaign for the Release of Elected Legislators, stated that despite kidnapping elected officials and attempts to delegitimize their election, Israel had âfailed in forcing them to bow and to surrender the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.’
The Campaign called on the international community to outlaw any arrests and abductions targeting elected legislators and officials.
There are currently six Hamas legislators imprisoned by Israel; Hatim Qfeisha, Basim al-Zaareer, Yousef Abu Teir, Abdul-Jaber Fogaha, and Ayman Daraghma.
Elected Legislators Marwan Barghouthi and Jamal al-Teerwai of the Fatah movement, and Legislator Ahmad Saadat, secretary general of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), are also imprisoned by Israel.