The Knesset Plenum approved the second and third reading of the Parole Bill (amendment No. 14), 2014 by MK Ayelet Shaked (HaBayit HaYehudi) and a group of MKs.
The law makes the existing arrangement more severe regarding setting the punishment for those who received a life sentence and for those who the courts decided that they have committed an exceptionally severe act of murder. For these prisoners, a special parole committee will not discuss the matter of their early release until at least 15 years have passed from the day of the sentencing and they cannot commute the sentence to less than 40 years. Additionally, the law states that the government will not have the authority to free prisoners as part of its foreign relations or the security of the state.
The law does not take away from the authority of the president to pardon prisoners. It was also proposed to create a transitional provision according to which the law will apply to someone who had not been sentenced yet, as long as the court has allowed for the sides to present their arguments on whether the accused committed an exceptionally severe murder.
MK Esawi Frij (Meretz) said ”this law has only one goal, to put a stick in the wheels of any future diplomatic process. It will not help you, there will be a diplomatic solution and there will be no diplomatic solution without freeing prisoners, and all of this will be thrown into the garbage.”
MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) said ”We should tell the soldiers that we are sending [about the law], so that they know if they are taken captive it will now be much harder to free them.”
MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) said ”HaBayit HaYehudi is poisoning the public conversation with a legislation whose only goal is to torpedo reaching a peace deal. You will not give the government diplomatic leeway. Your whole reason for existence is to poison democracy. I have not ever seen such a wanton group.”
MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) said ”This is an extraordinary thing, that the government is supporting a process which is tying its hands. Without the freeing of captives, it is impossible to end wars.”
MK Shaked said ”It pains me that the members of the opposition do not recognize the principle of the separation of powers and that the judicial branch needs to have the ability to judge. This law is able to prevent terrible murderers, like the ones of the Fogel family, from being freed in the future. I very much hope that there will not be a need for this law, but history teaches us that there will be.”
In the second reading, 32 MKs supported the bill with 15 opposing.
In the third reading, 35 MKs supported and 15 opposed.