Washington hands over Palestinian scientist and former presidential candidate to Israel

Washington (QNN)- The United States on Wednesday handed over the Palestinian leader Abdel Halim al Ashqar to the occupation state of Israel after being held in jail for 11 years, the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS) said Thursday.

The United States delivered the Al Ashqar to Israel “in a new step that reflects the administration’s full bias toward the occupation,” Hamas said in a statement.

“The U.S. administration’s decision to hand over the Palestinian professor, Abdel Halim al-Ashqar, is strongly condemned and it is a violation of international norms and laws,” Haniyeh said in a press statement.

He added that he ordered the political relations department of Hamas to “make contacts with brotherly and friendly Arab and Islamic countries to work on hosting him instead of handing him over to the Israeli occupation.”

Al-Ashqar, originally from the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, was a former associate professor of business at Howard University in Washington DC. He was also a former candidate who ran in the last Palestinian presidential elections held in 2005.

In November 2007, al-Ashqar was sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury in a case that he was accused of taking part in Hamas, listed as a terror group by the U.S. His lawyers said the sentence was “unusually stiff” due to the complex political background.

Washington had handed over al-Ashqar to Israel for refusing to testify against some Palestinian Muslim activists, and for helping to finance Hamas.

Haniyeh described al-Ashqar as “one of the most recognized national figures in terms of science, belonging to his homeland and his cause, and the Palestinian people are proud of him.”

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