U.S. Citizen Said to Be Sentenced to Life by Palestinian Court

(Bloomberg) -- A Palestinian court in Ramallah has sentenced a man to life in prison with hard labor for his involvement in selling real estate to a foreign entity.

The man, who was identified only by his initials in the court document, is Isaam Akel, a U.S. citizen who resides in East Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Post reported.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said in a Nov. 28 tweet that the Palestinian Authority had been holding Akel in prison for selling land to a Jew, demanding his release. Friedman said that Akel’s imprisonment is “antithetical to the value of the U.S. & all who advocate the cause of peaceful coexistence.”

U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority have deteriorated under President Donald Trump’s administration. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas strongly opposed Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and has said the U.S can no longer serve as the sole mediator in peace talks.

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