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Israel Ordered To Free Lebanese Man

June 29, 1998

JERUSALEM (AP) _ In a tightly guarded hearing, an Israeli court has ordered the release of a Lebanese civilian detained in Israel without trial for more than 10 years.

However, Ghassan Dirani’s release, ordered Sunday, was delayed for 30 days to give the state time to appeal.

Dirani is the nephew of Mustafa Dirani, a leader of the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah, which is waging a guerrilla war against Israeli soldiers and their Lebanese allies in south Lebanon.

Mustafa Dirani also has been held in Israel without trial since he was kidnapped by Israeli commandos in 1994. He was present at Sunday’s hearing, as was Hezbollah commander Sheik Abdel-Karim Obeid, who was kidnapped by Israel in 1989.

Ghassan Dirani was ordered released a year ago, but the move was overturned on appeal, Israel Radio said.

The London-based human rights group Amnesty International said in a report last year that Ghassan Dirani is in poor physical and mental health.

Israel’s emergency powers law allows prisoners to be held in ``administrative detention″ indefinitely without trial. But cases of prisoners considered a threat to the state must be reviewed at least every six months for imprisonment to be extended.

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