[Marxism] Israel releases Ghazi Falah
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jul 31 06:46:52 MDT 2006
Monday, July 31, 2006
Israel Releases U. of Akron Professor Without Charge After Holding Him for
By HAIM WATZMAN
Ghazi Falah, the geography professor from the University of Akron who had
been under arrest in Israel since July 8, was released from prison without
charge on Sunday.
A dual Israeli and Canadian citizen, Mr. Falah was arrested while taking
photographs close to Israel's border with Lebanon four days before
hostilities broke out between Israel and Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant
group. Mr. Falah maintained from the time of his arrest that he was taking
pictures for research purposes. Israeli security forces suspected him of
espionage (The Chronicle, July 18 and July 27).
An Israeli court reviewed and extended Mr. Falah's detention, during which
he was not allowed to communicate with family members or, until Wednesday,
to see his lawyer. But last Thursday the court ruled that Mr. Falah would
be released on Sunday if charges were not filed against him.
Mr. Falah's lawyer, Hussein Abu-Hussein, said he was relieved that the
detention had ended. He said that he had no plans to pursue further legal
action, such as to demand compensation for false arrest.
Contacted at his brother's home in northern Israel soon after his release,
Mr. Falah said that he was overwhelmed with emotion and that he was heading
straight to Haifa, where his mother is hospitalized with a brain tumor. It
was her illness that brought him to Israel at the beginning of this month.
The Associated Press reported late Sunday that Mr. Falah planned to try to
fly home to Ohio today.
"Everyone who knows his work knows he works in the field, takes many
photographs, and puts them in his papers," said David Newman, a political
geographer at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, who has collaborated with
Mr. Falah on research projects and papers. "The fact that his work is
extremely critical of Israel and Israeli planning is not sufficient reason
to keep him in prison. The incident has caused tremendous damage to the
stature of the Israeli academic community."
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