France's Juppe meets family of Palestinian prisoner

3rd June 2011, Comments 0 comments

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe met Friday with the parents of a Palestinian with French nationality who has been jailed in Israel for six years over a murder plot, diplomatic sources said.

Juppe met the parents of 26-year-old Salah Hamuri in a Jerusalem hotel on Friday morning at the end of a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, family sources confirmed.

Hamuri was arrested in March 2005 on charges of conspiring with the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to assassinate Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party.

This rare gesture by France's top diplomat came the day after he met the parents of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was captured by Palestinian militants in June 2006 and has been held somewhere in Gaza ever since.

"He assured me that in all his talks with the Israelis, he had requested clemency for Salah but every time they said no," mother Denise Hamuri told AFP, saying they had discussed Shalit with him.

"He said he wanted to give us the same attention (as the Shalit family) and that he wanted to meet both families," said his mother, who comes from the town of Bourg-en-Bresse in central France.

"I told him that I wanted Gilad Shalit to be freed but as part of a prisoner exchange deal which is also the wish of many Palestinians," she said.

In a letter published in the Palestinian press on Thursday, Hamuri had demanded a meeting with Juppe, publicly denouncing his "double standards" in scheduling a meeting only with Shalit's family.

Shortly afterwards, Juppe agreed to meet Denise Hamuri and her husband Hassan.

Three years after his arrest, Hamuri was convicted in April 2008 by an Israeli military court on charges of conspiracy to murder and sentenced to seven years behind bars.

He is due to complete his sentence on November 28, 2011.

In August 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected an appeal by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to release him.

© 2011 AFP

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