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Israel court delays release of Sheikh Kamal Al-Khatib

Deputy head of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Kamal Khatib speaks during a a press conference to talk about latest violations in Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, on August 4, 2014 [Saeed Qaq/Apaimages]
Deputy head of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Kamal Khatib speaks during a a press conference to talk about latest violations in Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, on August 4, 2014 [Saeed Qaq/Apaimages]

Israeli Magistrate's Court in Nazareth yesterday extended the detention of Sheikh Kamal Al-Khatib, the deputy chairman of Islamic Movement in Israel, until Sunday.

Lawyer Omar Khamaisi, head of Al-Khatib's defence team, said that the judge looked at his file and spotted a number of mistakes and postponed the decision on his release to Sunday.

According to the lawyer, the judge is likely to release him, "but we are not sure about this."

Dozens of activists and national leaders protested against the detention of Al-Khatib and the arbitrary detention campaigns against Palestinians in Israel.

Israeli special police forces arrested Sheikh Al-Khatib on 14 May in a violent raid on his hometown of Kufr Qanna that left dozens of local Palestinian residents wounded, some seriously.

On 24 May, Haifa Magistrate's Court Judge Zayed Fallah ruled that there was no justification for holding Al-Khatib in custody, and ordered his release under house arrest until 28 May.

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However, later that day, Israeli police appealed against the decision to the Haifa District Court.

Rights group Adalah said that the Israeli occupation prosecution had claimed Al-Khatib incited violence.

However, Adalah Director Dr Hassan Jabareen stressed his arrest was not legal as Israeli police did not have a court order when they raided his home.

Jabareen also argued before the court that the allegations against Al-Khatib did not justify his arrest. During the hearing, Khatib's defence team presented a video recording of a sermon delivered by Khatib at a mosque on the day of his arrest.

In the sermon, Al-Khatib strongly condemned an earlier attack on an Israeli Jewish civilian. Al-Khatib said in his sermon that if he had been on the scene himself, he would have acted to protect the Jewish individual from harm.

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