JERUSALEM (JTA) — A dual Israeli and Canadian citizen who joined a militia in an unnamed Arab country to fight the Islamic State is being held in prison there and could face the death penalty.
The Jewish man, Ben Hassin, 21, is the son of an Israeli father and a mother who has lived in Canada for 30 years. He has been under arrest since June 2015 in the Arab country for the murder of a taxi driver, who he shot after the cabbie threatened to kill him for being Jewish and Israeli, according to reports citing Hassin’s father, Ilan, of Tel Aviv.
Ilan Hassin told the local media that his son went to visit his grandparents in the Arab country and while there decided to enlist in the fight against ISIS with a local militia.
Israel’s deputy minister for regional cooperation, Ayoub Kara of the Likud party, told the daily Haaretz that Hassin was to be executed for the murder after he had been in jail for a year and a half. Kara, who first learned of the situation in November, said he was able to have the execution canceled, as long as the family pays a $120,000 ransom.
Kara said he asked Israel’s military censor to allow Hassin’s story to go public, so the family can raise money for the ransom. The ransom must be paid by Sunday, according to Ilan Hassin.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry also is involved in efforts to get Hassin released.
Ben Hassin reportedly has been tortured in prison, his father told Israeli media.