Israeli prosecutors charge Palestinian professor, despite successful appeal

Israeli prosecutors charge Palestinian professor, despite successful appeal
A court ruled that astrophysics professor Imad Barghouti should walk free after being arrested in April and imprisoned without trial for an initial three months.
2 min read
30 May, 2016
Astrophysics professor Imad Barghouti was arrested in April [Facebook]

In the latest sparring in a duel within Israel's military court system, prosecutors have filed charges against a prominent Palestinian academic - just days after a judge ordered him freed from internment, the army said late Sunday.

Al-Quds University astrophysics professor Imad Barghouti was arrested at an Israeli military checkpoint near the village of Nabi Saleh in the central occupied West Bank on April 24. He had been returning home from a nearby village.

The 53-year-old was imprisoned without trial for an initial three months, under an Israeli procedure known as administrative detention.

Barghouti was previously arrested in 2014 while passing though the Israeli-controlled border with Jordan on his way to a conference in the United Arab Emirates.

The leading scientist was interrogated about material he had posted on Facebook. Protests from scientists worldwide led to his release from prison a month later.

Barghouti is a leading researcher, publishing frequently in academic astrophysics journals, and has previously worked for NASA.

His lawyers appealed to an Israeli military court, which on Thursday ruled that he should be freed on Sunday.

But military prosecutors now want to put him on trial and are asking for him to be kept behind bars in the meantime.

"The military prosecution appealed the ruling and filed an indictment, while requesting he be detained until the end of the proceedings," an army statement said.

"The military court has currently extended the detention until [Monday]. Tomorrow morning a hearing will be held."

Administrative detention allows Israel to hold prisoners without trial for periods of up to six months, renewable indefinitely.

About 7,000 Palestinians are in Israeli prisons, more than 10 percent of whom are in administrative detention.

Agencies contributed to this report