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Palestinian astrophysicist detained in West Bank

April 26, 2016 10:32 P.M. (Updated: April 27, 2016 2:10 P.M.)
Palestinian astrophysicist Imad Barghouthi (Source: Al-Quds University website)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces reportedly detained well-known Palestinian astrophysicist Imad Barghouthi, a Palestinian solidarity group said on Tuesday.

Samidoun reported that Barghouthi was detained by Israeli forces on Sunday at the Nabi Saleh checkpoint in the occupied West Bank.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they did not have immediate information on the issue.

Barghouthi, a 53-year-old father of five, is a professor of theoretical space plasma physics at the Al-Quds University in the occupied East Jerusalem town of Abu Dis.

Barghouthi previously taught and did research at universities in the United States, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, and Sweden. He notably worked on a NASA-funded project on “the effect of wave-particle interactions on ion outflow at high latitudes” on a postgraduate scholarship.

The scientist had previously been detained in late 2014 as he was trying to cross into Jordan on his way to attend a conference in the United Arab Emirates. His lawyer said at the time that Barghouthi’s detention was due to his stance on the devastating Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip earlier that year, which killed more than 2,000 Palestinians.

He was held in administrative detention for a month and a half before being released amid uproar in the international scientific community.

Upon his release in early 2015, Barghouthi had urged “the international community that spoke up on my behalf to speak up also on behalf of all Palestinian political prisoners.”

According to prisoners’ organization Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians are detained in Israeli custody, 700 of whom are held in administrative detention -- internment without trial or charge.

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