‘Political arrest’ of Palestinian academic in Israel marks new civil liberties threat

‘Political arrest’ of Palestinian academic in Israel marks new civil liberties threat

The Guardian reports:

The arrest and interrogation of a leading Palestinian legal scholar based at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem marks a new threat to civil liberties in Israel, her legal team and employer have said.

Prof Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian was detained by police on the afternoon of 18 April over comments made on a podcast more than a month earlier and held overnight in conditions her lawyers described as “terrible” and designed to humiliate.

“This case is unique,” said Hassan Jabareen, her lawyer and the director of the human rights organisation Adalah. “This is not only about one professor, it could be a [precedent] for any academic who goes against the consensus in wartime.”

Shalhoub-Kevorkian was released on bail the next day when a magistrate and a district court judge both ruled she did not pose a threat, but has been called for further questioning on Sunday.

Although there have been widespread detentions of Palestinian citizens of Israel who publicly criticised the war in Gaza, this is the first time an academic has been targeted over speech related to their work.

Shalhoub-Kevorkian is a leading feminist scholar whose work focuses on trauma, state crimes, genocide, gender violence and surveillance. She is the Lawrence D Biele chair in law at Hebrew University and the global chair in law at Queen Mary University of London.

All prosecutions relating to freedom of speech have to be approved by the attorney general’s office, so her detention was signed off at the heart of government. Police said they were investigating Shalhoub-Kevorkian on suspicion of incitement to terrorism, violence and racism over comments on a podcast published in early March.

Jabareen said: “They could have asked her to come to the police station for two or three hours to discuss, investigate. To carry out the arrest like that, as if she was a dangerous person, shows the main purpose was to humiliate her. It was illegal, that’s why the magistrates court accepted my argument that she should be released and the district court confirmed it.” [Continue reading…]

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