Sheikh Raed Salah, one of the most prominent campaigners within Israel for Palestinian rights, has been arrested in London. The Sheikh was invited by PSC to speak at the launch of 'Building Peace and Justice in Jerusalem' Campaign in Parliament tonight, alongside MPs and other prominent speakers. He is the leader
of a legitimate political party in Israel, representing Palestinians, and an outspoken champion of Jerusalem. The meeting will still go ahead.
The Sheikh entered the UK openly on 25 June and his schedule was known well in advance by UK authorities. This included a meeting in Parliament on 26 June and a public meeting the same night at Conway Hall, London, organised by PSC and MEMO on the subject of the Arab Spring and its impact on Palestine.
Despite this, the Sheikh was arrested in his hotel room last night under section 3 of the Immigration Act 1971. The Home Secretary, Teresa May, subsequently announced in the House of Commons that he was excluded from entering the UK. The government has not made clear when the ban was issued, and the Sheikh's legal
team had not been contacted.
The Sheikh has appealed against the deportation in court. His team had already begun legal proceedings against Daily Telegraph and Jewish Chronicle journalists for printing false allegations about him last week.
Deporting, and subsequently banning, Sheikh Raed from the UK will be a violation of his right to free speech, his right to speak out on behalf of Palestine, and a victory for those who have spread the baseless rumours defaming his reputation.
Protest today/Write to the Home Secretary
· PSC is supporting a demonstration called by the Palestinian Forum of Britain TODAY from 5-6pm outside Paddington Green police station where the Sheikh is being held. This will be a silent protest in recognition of the silencing of free speech - bring Palestinian flags and gags to cover your mouth. Nearest tube: Edgware Road.
· Call or email the Home Secretary asking her to reconsider the decision. An Israeli court cleared Sheikh Raed of charges of making anti-Semitic comments. The Sheikh has reiterated that charges were dropped because there was no evidence against him. On what basis is he being excluded from the UK?
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