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Israeli court renews detention of al-Aqsa chief guard

February 13, 2014 at 2:56 am

An Israeli Magistrate Court on Monday extended the detention of chief guard of al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Najeh Bkeerat, for the second time.

The court said that more time is needed to investigate Bkeerat on the grounds of allegations that he belongs to the Palestinian Islamic movement, Hamas.

Bkeerat’s family have said that the Israeli authorities prevented them of attending the hearing.

Bkeerat’s lawyer, Majd Hamdan, the only one who attended the hearing, said: “The Israeli Public Prosecution asked the court to hold a secret hearing for Bkeerat. Therefore, they prevented his family members from attending.”

He said that the Public Prosecution asked for and additional eight days of detention, but he appealed against the demand. “The court, at the end, decided to extend his detention for four days,” the lawyer said.

Protesting against the extension, the layer said that he had filed an appeal against the additional four days with the Israeli District Court in Jerusalem.

Commenting on the circumstances of his detention, the lawyer said: “He is in good health, but he is kept in solitary confinement for investigation.”

Israeli police detained Sheikh Bkeerat last Tuesday from Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel-Aviv after he returned from Turkey. He was transferred to al-Maskobiya Investigation Centre in Jerusalem.

Based on allegations that he poses a danger on Israel’s security, Bkeerat has been prevented from entering the al-Aqsa Mosque for six months since March 3, 2013. It is the second time he has been prevented from entering the Mosque by military order.