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Nature journal publishes call for Israel to free Palestinian scientist

The science journal Nature has published a call for Israel to release Palestinian scientist Imad Barghouti, detained without charge since April 24.

The letter, signed by French scientist Ahmed Abbes and fourteen other signatories, explains how Barghouti, a "distinguished Palestinian astrophysicist", was arrested by the Israeli military "for the second time in less than 18 months."

In January 2015, Nature reported on letters of protest by international scholars when Barghouti was last detained without charge.

The authors of the latest letter explain how, "once again, it was alleged that Barghouthi made statements on Facebook and on television in opposition to Israeli military attacks and occupation."

Subsequent international pressure again contributed to a ruling by the military court of appeals a month later for his release. This has not happened. Barghouthi has instead been transferred to a facility run by Israel's internal security service, Shin Bet, for further interrogation.

According to Nature, Barghouthi is a theorist of space-plasma physics at Al-Quds University, a Palestinian university in Jerusalem. He obtained his doctorate at Utah State University in Logan, and worked in Jordan and Saudi Arabia before moving to Al-Quds in 2000.

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