Palestinian asylum seeker gets life imprisonment in Austria for being member of Hamas

Abdel Karim Abu Habel [Image: Twitter]

An Austrian court has sentenced a Palestinian asylum seeker to life imprisonment on Monday for being a member of Hamas and plotting to attack Israeli targets.

Abdel Karim Abu Habel, 27, was found guilty of being a member of Hamas and plotting attacks against Israelis, allegedly based on “evidence” the court received from Israel.

Abdel Karim is married with two children.

Austrian authorities claimed that the refugee from Gaza contacted two Palestinians living in Israel to attack the targets.

But his family stated that in 2005 an Israeli court sentenced their son to nine years in prison for the same charges, and was later released in 2013.

They insist that he has already served his sentence.

According to Abdel Karim’s father, Mohammed Abu Habel, the family is shocked at the sentence, describing it as “unjust” and “unfair”.

His father told Quds Press: “My son is only guilty of obstructing police work for five hours. He did not break Austrian law.”

The distraught father added that other charges are the same for which he spent nine years in an Israeli prison for.

Abdel Karim left the Gaza Strip in February 2015 to go to Turkey and then to Austria with an official visa.

He was arrested and detained there after cooperation between Israel’s spy agency Mossad spy agency and Austrian law enforcement agencies.

His father expressed his disappointment that the Palestinian Embassy in Vienna did not assist him to find where Abdel Karim was or find out the date of his trial.

Palestinian human rights groups warned of the possibility that Abdel Karim might be extradited to Israel.

The Prisoners’ Centre for Studies has questioned the legal authenticity of the indictment against him, which includes acts in relation to Israel allegedly committed outside Austria.

The Palestinian Authority has been pressured to follow-up on this case and block Abdel Karim’s extradition.

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