Portuguese / Spanish / English

Middle East Near You

Palestinian man stays in US prison waiting for Arab, Muslim state to host him

Prison cells [File photo]
Prison cells [File photo]

Asmaa Muhanna, the wife of Palestinian man Abdelhaleem al-Ashqar, who is facing deportation to the West Bank, said that he is waiting for an Arab or Muslim state to host him, Al-Resalah newspaper reported on Monday.

Al-Ashqar, who travelled to the US in 1989, completed his PhD and stayed there to teach in American universities, was put under house arrest in 2003 and sent to prison in 2007 over claims of supporting Hamas.

On 5 May, he was forced on board of a plane heading to Tel Aviv to deliver him to the West Bank, but his family and layers, who feared he might be intercepted and arrested by Israel, asked an American judge to cancel his deportation and he did before landing.

Thus, he was returned to Virginia Prison and had been waiting for a response from an Arab or Muslim country to host him.

His wife said she was shocked that no state is ready yet to host “this Palestinian professor whose only fault is rejecting oppression against his country.”

Speaking to Al-Resalah, she described with details how her husband, family and lawyers were deceived by the US immigration officers before forcing him to board the plane heading to Tel Aviv.

Read: Palestinian prisoner ends hunger strike after 70 days

She said that they summoned him for some routine measures and he would leave the prison. She accompanied him along with other relatives, but she was the only one to be allowed in with him.

Then, she said, they told him they would take a picture and fingerprints for him. Four hours later, he was handcuffed and then forced to board a plane heading to Tel Aviv. She told the lawyers immediately about what happened, and they asked an American judge to hold an urgent hearing to decide his return.

When the judge was told that his plane took off, he ordered that he returns to the US and that what happened.

Al-Ashqar ran for the Palestinian Authority presidency in 2005 against Mahmoud Abbas and his programme based on national unity.

Al-Aqshqar was born in 1958 in Sidon Village in the West Bank city of Tulkarm. He studied at West Bank schools and universities and did his Masters in Greece and worked in the Islamic University of Gaza. In 1989 he had a scholarship to study his PhD in Mississippi University and then started teaching at US universities until 2003.

His wife said that he was arrested three times by American authorities over rejecting to give accounts against Palestinian and Muslim activists. This ended him up under house arrest in 2003 and 2007 he was sentenced to 11 years in prison over claims of funding Hamas.

Asia & AmericasIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineUS
Show Comments
Remembering Jamal - One year on
Show Comments