Israel Indicts Palestinian Astrophysicist Despite Decision to Free Him

Palestinian professor and astrophysicist Imad Barghouthi. (Photo: Via Social Media.)

Palestinian professor and astrophysicist Imad Barghouthi is facing charges of “incitement” by Israeli authorities, despite a decision Thursday by the Israeli military appeals court to release him from custody due to lack of sufficient evidence, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).

In a statement released by PPS on Sunday, the group said Israeli military prosecution submitted the indictment to the military court accusing Barghouthi of incitement against Israel on Facebook.

Earlier on Sunday, the statement added, Israeli intelligence questioned Barghouthi at Ofer prison, where he is being held under Israel’s notorious policy of administrative detention — commonly used as a means of internment without charges or trial based on undisclosed evidence.

PPS senior lawyer Jawad Boulous described the decision to keep Barghouthi in custody as “extremely absurd,” taking into account that the Israeli military prosecutor announced at Thursday’s court hearing that there was not enough evidence to indict him.

The appeal presented to the Israeli court was signed by hundreds of scientists and academics from all over the world demanding Barghouthi’s release. A similar petition signed by academics was submitted to Israeli courts during the imprisoned professor’s court hearing earlier in May.

The defense appeal overturned the court’s previous sentence to two months in administrative detention, which followed an initial verdict of three months in prison.

News of the Israeli military court’s latest decision regarding Barghouthi comes after a prominent Israeli human rights organization announced on Wednesday they are to discontinue their strategy of holding Israel accountable for their crimes against Palestinians through internal military mechanisms.

“B’Tselem has gradually come to the realization that the way in which the military law enforcement system functions precludes it from the very outset from achieving justice for the victims. Nonetheless, the very fact that the system exists serves to convey a semblance of law enforcement and justice,” the report stated.

Barghouthi, who comes from the village of Beit Rima in the Ramallah district, was detained by Israeli forces in late April at the Nabi Saleh checkpoint in the occupied West Bank.


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