JERUSALEM (AA/AFP) – Israeli authorities on Thursday released a Palestinian prisoner after he spent 40 years in jail.
Maher Younis, 64, from Ara town in northern Israel was set free and is on his way home, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Society.
Upon his release, Maher told journalists that Israeli measures “will not prevent us from celebrating and we will not bow to Israeli policies.”
“I call on my people and groups to unite in order to achieve peace and settlement, and to reach an independent and free country,” he added.
“After 40 years of arrest, I hoped to find my country liberated,” Younis said.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Channel 12 said that the Israeli police prevented any form of celebration over the release of the prisoner.
Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir instructed the police to prevent “any acts of sympathy or encouragement for an act of terrorism,” in reference to celebrations upon the release of Younis.
Maher Younis was arrested on Jan. 18, 1983, and was sentenced to life, which was later set for 40 years.
Younis was charged with being a member of the then-banned Fatah movement, “possession of weapons” and “killing an Israeli soldier.”
On Jan. 5, his cousin Karim Younis was also released after serving his 40-year term.
Younis was convicted in 1983 of the 1980 murder of Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg in the occupied Golan Heights.
His release comes two weeks after his cousin Karim Younis was freed after serving the same prison time for the same offence.
Karim, who said he was “proud” of his actions, had been welcomed by hundreds of celebrating supporters waving Palestinian flags.
Ben-Gvir’s office said the minister had “instructed police to act firmly and with determination against the phenomena of terror and support for terror we saw the other week in Ara,” during the cousin’s homecoming.