Detained Palestinian released on bail

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The Independent Online

A Palestinian detained on the orders of the Home Secretary Theresa May, after flying into Britain to speak to politicians was yesterday freed on bail by a High Court judge, pending the outcome of legal challenges.

Sheikh Raed Salah, 52, is challenging the Home Secretary's decision to detain him in London in late June and wanted to be freed on bail pending the outcome of court proceedings. Lawyers representing Mr Salah – leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel – yesterday told Mr Justice Stadlen during a hearing in London that he did not pose a security risk and should not be held in custody. Home Office lawyers opposed the bail application.

The arrest has drawn condemnation from Palestinian leaders across the political spectrum. The Arab League called for his immediate and unconditional release, stating that it had received the news of the arrest "with considerable shock and surprise".

The judge said Mr Salah had a "good arguable case" to support his claim for a judicial review of Mrs May's decision. He imposed a number of bail conditions – saying Mr Salah should wear an electronic monitoring tag, observe a night-time curfew, report daily to immigration officials and stay at the home of a friend in London. He also banned Mr Salah from public speaking and from any activity which might "ferment" terrorism or criminal activity.

Mr Salah's travel documents showed that he had planned a 10-day visit to Britain after being invited by a group called the Middle East Monitoring Organisation. He had a number of meetings scheduled and had spoken at one in Parliament and one in Leicester in the days after arriving.

Two of his supporters had put up sureties totalling £30,000 which they might lose if he absconded, the court heard. It heard that Mr Salah was a father of eight and a former mayor of the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, which had been part of Israel since 1948.

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