Security services have arrested a Druse resident of the Golan Heights after he crossed into Israel last week following the completion of his medical studies in Syria.
The Nazareth District Court has imposed a gag order on the details of the investigation and is only permitting the publication of the suspect’s name – Dr. Iad Johary – and the fact that he has been arrested.
A resident of Majdal Shams, Johary was arrested at the Quneitra Crossing between Israel and Syria last Thursday. Johary left Israel in 2002 for medical studies in Syria and returned every summer up until 2008 when he remained in Syria to complete his exams, his cousin and lawyer Kisah Johary said on Tuesday.
In 2009, he met a Druse woman from Syria and they decided to marry. The couple then decided to return to Majdal Shams where Johary planned to open a family medical practice.
“I submitted a request for a reunification so he could bring his wife to Israel but was told that Iad had to be in Israel to submit the request from here,” Kisah Johary said. “That is why he returned last week.”
Ali al-Younes, chairman of the Committee for Supporting Golan Prisoners, told Syria’s news agency SANA that Johary’s arrest was “part of a series of Israeli violations against the steadfast people of Golan, in an attempt to break their will.”
Al-Younes claimed that there were 30 Druse currently serving sentences in Israeli prisons, and that six of them were serving terms of more than 25 years.
While the allegations against Johary are banned from publication, there have been cases in the past of Druse from Majdal Shams who have been arrested on suspicions of spying on Israel on behalf of Syria. In 2010, for example, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) arrested and indicted four Druse from Majdal Shams on espionage-related charges.
The suspects were allegedly in touch with a Syrian intelligence officer who had asked them to kidnap an IDF soldier as well as an Israeli Arab who they mistakenly believed was Bassam Adel, a Syrian MiG-23 pilot who defected to Israel in 1989 with his fighter bomber.
After his landing, which took Israeli authorities by surprise, Adel immediately requested asylum and has been living in an undisclosed location in Israel ever since.