Court Orders Al-Ashqar Be Returned to US from Israel

Palestinian Professor Abdul-Halim Al-Ashqar. (Photo: File)

The wife of Palestinian Professor Abdul-Halim Al-Ashqar said his lawyers succeeded in obtaining a court verdict ordering the US security authorities to bring him back immediately from Israel.

In remarks to the Palestinian Information Centre (PIC), Asma Muhanna said that the court order banned Al-Ashqar’s transfer to Israel, adding that he was flown back to the US from Ben Gurion airport and sent to a jail in Virginia.

A few days ago, Al-Ashqar was kidnapped illegally by the FBI and taken aboard a plane to Ben Gurion airport in Israel in order to hand him over to the authorities there, but he was kept on the plane following a US court order.

Later, Al-Ashqar was returned to the US aboard the same plane after a US court issued a decision in this regard.

In November 2007, the American authorities had sentenced Al-Ashqar to 11 years in prison after placing him under house arrest for nearly two years.

He was sacked from his teaching post at Washington University in August 2004. He was subsequently arrested and accused, with no evidence, of illegally collecting funds for Hamas, and placed under house arrest.

Ashqar ran as an independent presidential candidate in the Palestinian election held on  January 9, 2005. He was one of ten contenders seeking to succeed Yasser Arafat.

Palestinian Group Denounces US Action

The Council on International Relations Palestine had denounced the US authorities for handing over Ashqar to Israel.

The Council noted that this move uncovers the US administration’s approach which is hostile to the Palestinian people and to stability and peace in the region through its blatant bias towards the unjust occupation and its ongoing crimes.

The statement has noted that the US administration unfairly sentenced Al-Ashqar to 11 years in prison after being abducted and placed under house arrest for nearly two years on a charge that does not exceed six months in prison. It also stressed that US authorities are targeting Palestinian activists and scientists.

The council called on the international community, human rights groups and organizations around the world to exert pressure to release Al-Ashqar, stressing the need for the US administration to reconsider its policies in the region which contradict its claim to be an honest broker and guarantor of the peace process.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

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