Activist Sheikh Raed Salah wins UK deportation appeal

Sheikh Raed Salah Sheikh Raed Salah was detained in June

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A pro-Palestinian activist detained on a visit to the UK has won his appeal against attempts to deport him.

Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was held and given a deportation order after he flew into the UK in June, breaching a travel ban.

He received notice on Saturday from the Upper Immigration Tribunal that his appeal had succeeded "on all grounds", the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said.

The Home Office said it was "disappointed" and planned to appeal.

"We are considering the detailed judgment and, if we can appeal, we will," a spokesman said.

Start Quote

The British government have acted in a shameful way”

End Quote Sarah Colborne Palestine Solidarity Campaign

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), said the Upper Immigration Tribunal's letter to Sheikh Salah said that the decision to detain him appeared to have been "entirely unnecessary".

PSC director Sarah Colborne said the ruling was "very important day for British justice".

"By arresting, imprisoning and attempting to deport Sheikh Raed Salah on what the judge has determined as a 'misapprehension of the facts', the British government have acted in a shameful way," she said.

"I trust that there will be a serious attempt by the British government to rely in the future on accurate evidence rather than inaccurate anti-Palestinian propaganda against someone who has a history of opposing Israel's crimes and violations of international law."

High court ruling

In September, the High Court ruled in a damages claim that Sheikh Salah, 53, had been wrongly detained for two days, during which he was not told the reason for his arrest.

Mr Justice Nicol said in his judgement that although the Home Office had not broken the rules over its reasons for the activist's detention, the detention had been conducted incorrectly. He said Sheikh Salah "was not given proper and sufficient reasons" for his arrest for the first two days of his 21-day detention.

Sheikh Salah appealed against the rest of the decision.

Critics say Sheikh Salah, an Israeli citizen, is anti-Semitic, a charge he has denied. The campaigner for Israeli-Arab rights has been mayor of his home town three times.

Sheikh Salah arrived in the UK in June, planning to attend a number of public events and other meetings with pro-Palestinian campaigners.

When he arrived in the UK, Sheikh Salah was given permission to stay for six months - and as an Israeli citizen he did not need a visa. An exclusion order issued by Home Secretary Theresa May two days earlier on the grounds that his presence was not conducive to the public good had not been served on him before he boarded his flight to the UK.

But three days later immigration officers detained him at his hotel in London and he was held in immigration detention for 21 days. He later won an application to be released on bail.

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