On Monday 18th July, Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was released on conditional bail after winning his appeal last week. He was detained on June 28 for allegedly entering the country illegally after the Home Secretary, Theresa May, claimed a travel ban had been issued against him as his presence in the UK was deemed non-conducive to the public good due to his “unacceptable behaviour”. Despite none of the relevant parties having been informed of the ban beforehand, Sheikh Salah has been held in UK detention for the past three weeks.
Sheikh Salah had been taking part in a well-publicised UK speaking tour organised by the Middle East Monitor when he was unexpectedly detained. He was initially held at Paddington Green Police Station, before being transferred to immigration detention centre near Heathrow and then on to a high security prison in Bedford. During Friday’s court hearing, it was revealed that Salah’s detention was based on spurious allegations of anti-Semitism made against him in the British media. Other Home Office objections to Salah’s presence in Britain also included his assertions of the Palestinian right of return; avocation of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel; links to the Turkish charity IHH and links to Hamas.
Salah is currently out on bail but subject to stringent conditions imposed by the Home Office which include him having to wear an electronic tag, reporting to an immigration centre daily, observing a 6pm to 9am curfew and he being barred from addressing the public. His case is due to be heard in September.
Upon his release He was received by dignitaries from the Arab and Muslim community in Britain, and a delegation from the Palestinian High Follow-up Committee inside Israel including the Committee Head, Mr Mohammad Zidan, and the mayor of Umm al-Fahm, Sheikh Khaled Hamdan.
A statement released by the British Muslim Initiative (BMI) stated that the Sheikh’s release was a “crushing defeat for the Zionist lobby”. It went on to say that “The decision issued by the High Court confirms that the Home Secretary’s decision to keep Sheikh Raed in detention, in spite of the appeal against the deportation decision, was a political decision in flagrant violation of laws in force in Britain and the European Convention of Human Rights,” the statement says.
In a statement from the head of BMI, Mohammed Sawalha, he asserted that the decision was one of many that had done overall justice to the Palestinian cause in the face of the Zionist lobby’s interference in the UK.” He went on to say that the release was “no doubt a victory, and the battle is still on until the British courts rule in favor of the appeal Salah has filed against the deportation decision in September,” Sawalha said.