Free speech fettered

IssueSeptember 2011
News by David Polden

On 28 June, Sheikh Reed Salah, leader of the largest Palestinian political party in Israel, was arrested by UK border police, held in Bedford high security prison and served with a deportation order.

Salah had entered the UK on 25 June, using his Israeli passport, as he had before, for a speaking tour and had already spoken to MPs in the Commons and to gatherings at Queen Mary University, Conway Hall and Leicester.

On 18 July, Salah won an appeal against detention and was released on bail until his case against deportation is heard.

In court it was revealed that Salah’s detention was based on allegations of anti-semitism, advocating the Palestinian right of return, support for the boycott movement against Israel, and links to a Turkish charity and to Hamas. The bail is subject to severe restrictions: wearing an electronic tag, reporting to an immigration centre daily, observing a 6pm-9am curfew and not addressing the public.