16 Oct 2011

Israel names prisoners to be freed in swap deal

8:32 pm on 16 October 2011

Israel has published the names of 477 Palestinian prisoners who are to be released in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Israel's President Shimon Peres has begun the process of pardoning them, his office said.

They are set to be freed on Tuesday in the first phase of the deal. A further 550 prisoners are to be released after Sergeant Shalit returns home, the BBC reports.

Sgt Shalit was seized by Palestinian militants in 2006, aged 19.

The list of 450 male and 27 women prisoners included in the first phase of deal was released publicly early on Sunday.

Israelis who object to the swap have 48 hours to appeal to Israel's highest court to intervene, before the prisoners are freed.

But a BBC correspondent says the court is unlikely to stop the deal, which has broad public support.

The Almagor Terror Victims' Association says the deal dishonoured victims of attacks and would lead to more kidnappings and violence.

It has filed a High Court petition saying the timetable does not allow the victims enough time to scrutinise the list.

Many of those to be freed are Palestinians who were jailed for plotting suicide bombings or shooting attacks.

The remaining 550 prisoners in the swap deal will be released in about two months, according to the terms of the Egyptian-mediated deal.