The news from al Araby:
A renowned Palestinian professor and astrophysicist, Imad al-Barghouti, was arrested by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank on Sunday evening.
The 53-year-old professor of space physics at al-Quds University in East Jerusalem was arrested at an Israeli military checkpoint, near the village of Nabi Saleh in the central occupied West Bank.
He had been returning home to a nearby village.
Barghouthi was previously arrested in 2014 while passing though the Israeli-controlled border with Jordan on his way to a conference in the United Arab Emirates.
The leading scientist was interrogated about material he had posted on Facebook. Protests from scientists worldwide led to his release from prison a month later.
Barghouti is a leading researcher, publishing frequently in academic astrophysics journals, and has previously worked for NASA.
From Barghouti’s last arrest and release a year ago, he posted a letter thanking AURDIP, the French association of academics in support of Palestinians’ rights, for pressuring for his release after a month and a half in jail:
I was arrested on December 6, 2014, at the Karama border crossing, as I was travelling to Jordan on my way to the United Arab Emirates to attend a conference organized by the Arab Association of Astronomy and Space Sciences of which I am a founding member. The Israeli military order to detain me extended until March 5, 2015 and would have likely been renewed had such international pressure by people of conscience not been exerted on the Israeli government. Now that I have been released, I am still subject to detention at any moment without charge or trial because of my political views and political affiliations.
Many other Palestinians have not been as lucky as I am. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, the wave of mass arrests conducted by Israeli military courts against Palestinians in the first two weeks of December of last year included 54 Palestinians besides myself. Another Palestinian academic, Dr. Ghassan Thuqan of the Faculty of Education at An-Najah University, is languishing in ill health at the Naqab (Negev) desert prison without charge or trial since July 9th…
These waves of mass arrests and detention without charge or trial continue to be a means that the Israeli authorities use in order to repress freedom of expression by criminalizing it through Israeli Military Order 101, used by the IDF to restrict Palestinians’ rights to freedom of expression and assembly.