Virginia (QNN)- The Palestinian scientist and former candidate in the Palestinian presidential elections Abdel Halim Al Ashqar told QNN that he fears that he could be handed over to ‘Israel’ again to be subjected to torture and that he is looking for any country to welcome him so that he can leave the U.S.
Al Ashqar was illegally kidnapped in last June 4th, which was the first day of Eid, and deported to Ben Gurion Israeli airport. However an American court ordered to send him back to the U.S. The kidnap took place when the American immigration service sent to Al Ashqar’s requesting him to visit their office for a routine visit. However, he was shocked when they immediately handcuffed him and denied his family all information about him.
“They sent requesting a routine visit to their office, but because I had a knee replacement surgery, my lawyer sent them asking for another appointment. They sent a written reply telling us that I should visit the office and they will make a very short interview then leave me celebrate Eid”, Al Ashqar told QNN.
“I’ve been waiting for the moment when I celebrate Eid with my family for 11 years”, he added.
Working as a spokesperson of the Islamic university in Gaza in the period between 1985-1989, Al Ashqar has been always subject to Israeli assaults and threats.
In 1989, he got a Fulbright doctoral scholarship to study in the United States, but despite of the Israeli trials to prevent him from leaving because “he is already an activist in Palestine and it would be dangerous if he continues activism outside”, as the Israelis said, thanks to the American justice that he could leave Palestine to the U.S.
The moment when he stepped into the United States to study at the University of Mississippi, Al Ashqar’s suffering, which will continue for 30 years, has started. The FBI used to periodically call the University to ask about Al Ashqar, assaulted him, and intimidated his thesis director, which made him get his doctoral degree in 7 years instead of 4. “We don’t have any problem with him but the Israelis do”, the FBI used to tell the University administration when they were asking.
Al Ashqar mentions that the FBI once occupied an apartment next to his house to spy on him and they were searching his garbage. An instance which was confirmed in “From Midnight to Guntown: True Crime Stories from a Federal Prosecutor in Mississippi”, written by John Hailman, who was responsible for investigating Al Ashqar, and who described Al Ashqar in his book as “an honorable terrorist”.
Al Ashqar says that they were asking him to testify against foundations and individuals based in the United States, some of whom are American citizens, but he refused.
“They offered me money to start a business and they also threatened me to expel me if I reject, bu I rejected”, Al Ashqar says.
In 1998, Al Ashqar refused to testify for “religious, ethical, and political reasons”, as he told the judge. He was arrested for 7 months for civil disobedience.
Despite of an agreement with the American government to leave the country in 2 years, Al Ashqar was summoned for trial again in 2003 then arrested for several accusations including civil disobedience and contempt of court.
In 2004, Al Ashqar ran for president in the Palestinian presidential elections, but that didn’t prevent the U.S. from accusing him of contempt of court and gathering money for Hamas. Three years later the court found him innocent of terrorism charges and sentenced him for over 11 years in jail for contempt of court and obstruction of justice.
Now, Al Ashqar could be handed over to ‘Israel’ any time. Several human rights organizations proved that ‘Israel’ uses torture against Palestinian prisoners to get confessions.
“The Israel Security Agency’s (ISA) interrogation regime relies on isolating interrogatees from the outside world and uses holding conditions to weaken interrogatees in body and spirit. The cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment – at times amounting to torture – is a blatant violation of international law and basic moral standards. Many authorities facilitate the ISA’s operations, including the Israel Prison Service, which creates inhuman holding conditions, the Attorney General who gives ISA agents immunity, and the Supreme Court which sanctions the interrogatees’ isolation”, according to B’Tselem Israeli organization.