An Israeli court has decided to release Jerusalem parliamentarian Ahmed Abu Atoun on condition that he is deported from his own country. The prosecution, meanwhile, asked for time to appeal against the decision on the grounds that Atoun “is dangerous for the security of Israel, even if he gets deported”.
The court’s verdict included the release of Atoun on bail of 50,000 shekels, on the condition that he signs a pledge not to enter Jerusalem without obtaining a permit from Israeli authorities first unless Israel’s Supreme Court allows him to do so. Mr Atoun rejected the court’s decision and refused to sign such a pledge and so he will remain in detention until the end of the case.
Israeli forces lured Mr Atoun on 26 September from the compound of the International Red Cross in Jerusalem and abducted him. Atoun and two colleagues – MP Mohamed Tahtouh and former minister Khaled Abu Arafa – have been seeking refuge there for more than a year after the Israeli Occupation Authorities issued a deportation order to remove them from their home city of Jerusalem.
Atoun’s family and friends, and members of the Committee for the Families of Jerusalemite Detainees, organized a protest outside the courtroom. They held pictures of Atoun and banners saying “Stop Israeli piracy”, and “Storming into the Red Cross [Offices] is international piracy”, in English, Arabic and Hebrew.