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Israeli authorities release prominent ICHR lawyer

March 1, 2016 5:18 P.M. (Updated: March 1, 2016 5:18 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- An Israeli court on Tuesday released a director for the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) who was detained last week during a peaceful protest marking the 22nd anniversary of the Ibrahimi mosque massacre, a lawyer with the ICHR said.

Alaa Ghneimat said Israeli authorities released lawyer Farid al-Atrash on a 1,500 shekel ($385) bail.

Al-Atrash was detained by Israeli forces during a protest on Feb. 29 commemorating the 22 years since American-born Israeli extremist Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Muslim worshippersin the Ibrahimi mosque in 1994, killing 29 and injuring more than 120.

Following his detention, the ICHR said in a statement that Israeli forces assaulted al-Atrash before detaining him, and called the violence used against the lawyer "a crime."

The demonstration that led to al-Atrash's detention also called for the re-opening of al-Shuhada street, which was shut down soon after the massacre.

Earlier that week, Amnesty International slammed Israel for maintaining “severe and discriminatory restrictions on movement” on Palestinian residents of Hebron after the massacre, while allowing Israeli settlers free access.

Increased military presence has spread across the Hebron district since October, with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reporting higher restrictions in the district than in any other area across the occupied Palestinian territory.

Israeli military checkpoints were set up at the entrances of many Hebron-district villages, and residents reported harassment, arbitrary detentions, an increase in traffic, and curfews.

Areas of Hebron’s Old City -- where the Ibrahimi mosque and al-Shuhada street are located -- have come under intensive military presence in particular, and have been declared a “closed military zone” since November.
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