RAMALLAH, West Bank–-Two weeks after a Palestinian prisoner died of cancer in an Israeli jail, provoking violent protests in the West Bank, Israel released a critically ill Palestinian prisoner who had served 11 years of a 14-year-sentence.
Muhammad Taj, 43, from the West Bank town of Toubas, was admitted to intensive care at the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah immediately after his release Thursday. Doctors there diagnosed his condition as “very critical.”
Taj suffers from lung failure and has difficulty breathing. He can breathe only through a respirator, said his doctors.
Palestinians charged that Israel released him only after it became evident that he might die in prison, but Israeli officials said he was released for compassionate reasons.
“The decision to release him was made on humanitarian grounds since the prisoner is ill with a serious disease,” Israeli President Shimon Peres said in a statement issued by his office.