RAMALLAH, Palestine

The number of Palestinians sentenced to life imprisonment by Israeli authorities has surged to 547, a Palestinian rights group working on prisoners’ affairs said on Thursday.

The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said in a statement that the figures were reached after Youssef Zuhour was sentenced to life in prison by an Israeli military court in Ofer camp west of Ramallah on Wednesday.

The decision against the 24-year-old Zuhour also included an additional 15 years in prison and a fine of 1.5 million shekels (approximately $483,000), according to the PPS.

Zuhour, a native of Hebron in the southern West Bank, is the third prisoner to be sentenced to life in December, with the other two being Qassem Asafra and Nasir Asafra, both from the same city.

The PPS said all three convicts were arrested in August 2019 and had their homes demolished by Israeli forces as part of a policy of “collective punishment.”

According to the Prisoners Information Office, a Gaza-based NGO, the three were convicted for taking part in an operation in early August 2019 that resulted in the death of an Israeli settler north of Hebron.

There are around 4,550 Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons, including 32 women, 170 children, and 500 administrative detainees, according to institutions concerned with prisoners’ affairs.

Administrative detention permits Israeli authorities to keep a prisoner in custody indefinitely without prosecution or trial.

*Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar

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