Palestinian astrophysicist and Hamas member wins appeal petition after being jailed for inciting violence/terrorism against Israelis on Facebook, during spree of knife-attacks.
• Imad Barghouthi will be released May 29, after being detained in April.
A prominent Palestinian astrophysicist arrested by Israel and put on administrative detention is to be released Sunday, the Israeli daily Haaretz reports.
Imad Barghouthi, a professor of astrophysics at East Jerusalem’s al-Quds University was detained in April for Facebook posts which Israeli Security officials deemed to be inciting terrorism. He is also suspected by authorities of being involved in Hamas linked activities.
The controversial administrative detention measure allows Israel to hold suspects without trial for periods of six months, renewable indefinitely.
The announcement of his release came from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club on Friday, said Haaretz.
Upon his detention, an international campaign was started to secure Barghouthi’s release, and more than 350 academics signed a petition calling on Israel to free him. Signers of the petition included Freeman Dyson, Professor Emeritus of Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and American linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky, said Haaretz.
According to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency, in a previous appeal against his detention, a military court ruled to shorten his sentence by one month, moving his release up to June 24th. Another defense appeal overturned this ruling and Barghouthi is now set to be released on May 29th.
The new ruling, made on Thursday, acknowledged that while the 54-year-old professor is a member of Hamas who has participated in spreading incitement to students, his actions were not severe enough to warrant administrative detention, which should be used only for suspects who pose an imminent threat, said Haaretz.
At the hearing, Barghouthi said that he “has been and will always remain against occupation but that does not mean that he imposes danger on the safety and security of the public,” said Ma’an.
Barghouthi was held in administrative detention once before in 2014. He was detained at the Israel-Jordan border crossing while travelling to Amman to fly to a conference in the UAE, said Haaretz.
Barghouthi’s attorney, Jawad Boulos, said that his client’s first arrest was made in connection to statements made on social media during the 2014 Israel-Gaza war, saidHaaretz.
Barghouthi was then sentenced to three months, but an international outcry led to his release a month and a half early.
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