Rights group: Hamas frees Gazan man who met Israelis on Zoom

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza’s Hamas authorities on Monday released three Palestinian peace campaigners who were jailed last April for holding an online video conference with Israeli participants, a rights group and the main defendant’s family said.

Rami Aman, 39, was detained in April along with seven members of his Gaza Youth Committee group after holding a two-hour Zoom meeting. The event drew dozens of peace activists, including Israelis.

Hamas, an Islamic militant group that opposes Israel’s existence, pressed treason charges against Aman and a colleague, but released five of the detainees days later.

On Monday, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, which defended Aman, said a military court suspended the remainder of the defendants’ one-year sentence and released them.

Aman’s family confirmed their son arrived home but declined to comment further.

The rare Zoom conference bringing Israelis and Gazans together was advertised on a Facebook event page and some Israeli participants published a recording of the discussions, prompting fierce condemnations of Aman and other Gaza participants. Hamas-run security forces then made the arrests.

Since seizing power in 2007, Hamas has fought three wars against Israel, and anti-Israel sentiment is common in Gaza.

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