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Israel illegally holding leading Palestinian prof.: NGO

In this file photo, renowned Palestinian astrophysics Professor Imad Barghouthi speaks at a Hamas rally at al-Quds University in al-Quds (Jerusalem), October 2014.

A Palestinian NGO says Israel is holding renowned Palestinian astrophysicist Imad Barghouthi in prison even though he has successfully won an appeal against his administrative detention.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club (PPC) announced that it appealed to an Israeli military court on May 26 to order the release of the professor, who supports Hamas, and the court ruled that the 52-year-old should be freed on Sunday.

Israel military authorities, however, refused to take heed of the measure and ordered his continued imprisonment in the Israeli Ofer prison near the occupied West Bank city of Beitunia, located 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) west of Ramallah.

“The Occupation (Israeli) prosecutor today accused prisoner Barghouti of incitement to violence, and called for his continued detention after a meeting of the intelligence services,” Jawad Boulos, the legal counsel for the Ramallah-based PPC, said.

He denounced the Israeli officials’ decision as “totally absurd.”

“The prosecutor said on Thursday that, after examining the dossier, it would not be possible to file charges because of lack of evidence,” Boulos said.

Barghouthi, a professor at al-Quds University in al-Quds (Jerusalem), once worked on NASA-funded projects in the United States.

Israeli security forces arrested him late on April 24 at a checkpoint near the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, west of Ramallah.

Barghouthi has been held in administrative detention without any charges brought against him, as is typical of such detention.

This file photo shows a Palestinian prisoner being kept behind bars in an Israel detention facility. 

Activists say a total of 729 Palestinians have been subjected to administrative detention since early January, a 35-percent rise compared to the same period last year.

Hamad Ahmed Abul Fannouneh, a resident of al-Khalil (Hebron), is the oldest serving administrative detainee, whose jail term has been renewed eight times since July 7, 2013.

Six Palestinian minors are reportedly being held by the Israeli authorities under administrative detention.

Some prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to eight, ten and eleven years without any charges brought against them.

Administrative detention is a policy under which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli detention facilities without trial or charge.

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