Sheikh Raed Salah 311.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
LONDON – Raed Salah, the leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was granted bail by the High Court in London on Friday while he awaits a deportation hearing.
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The former Umm el-Fahm mayor was arrested by British authorities last month after he managed to enter the country, despite being banned from entry, to take part in a number of political events organized by an anti- Israel campaign group and a far-left MP.
He was held in Bedford Prison, 100 km. north of London.
“Given this man’s history of virulent anti-Semitism, will the home secretary ban him from entering the UK?” Conservative MP Mike Freer asked earlier this month.
“The UK Border Agency has made a very serious error in letting this man walk through passport control.”
On Friday, a High Court judge agreed to his application for bail and ordered him released with conditions that included restrictions on him speaking in public.
Salah’s lawyer, Raza Husain, a barrister specializing in immigration and human rights, said that his client denied “categorically” all the allegations directed against him, including that he was anti-Semitic.
He said that Salah was a “peaceful campaigner for Palestinian rights” and a serious political figure in Israel.
He accused the British government of turning its back on the Palestinians.
Husain also said that translations from Arabic of Salah’s remarks made by The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz can be questioned.
The court heard testimony from Liberal Democrat peer and anti-Israel activist Jenny Tonge, who described Salah as a “calm and thoughtful man, worth listening to.” A small number of Raed’s supporters gathered outside the court during the hearing.
Last week, a petition with 10,000 signatures was handed to the Home Office by supporters calling for his immediate release.
Salah was to remain in custody until Monday, to allow Home Office officials to carry out checks on the London address where he will stay while on bail and until his deportation hearing.