Thursday, July 27, 2006

Scholar Ghazi Falah arrested by Israel without charge

Ghazi-Walid Falah is a tenured professor from the Geography and Planning Department at the University of Akron in the US. He was arrested in Israel on Saturday July 8, 2006 and remained detained without charge and without access to legal council until today. On July 17, 2006 the authorities denied his access to a lawyer for a further ten days. Only today has his lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein, been allowed a meeting with him.

Ghazi was on a visit to see his mother who was facing an operation to remove a brain tumor. During his visit he went to a popular tourist resort at Nahariya (Israel) to take some pictures, presumably for use in the Arab World Geographer, in research articles, or for teaching purposes. However, the Israeli authorities thought he was spying for Hizballah in taking photos of an area repeatedly hit by Katyusha rockets. The Israelis fear that the photos would give Hizballah an idea of how accurate its firing has been. Ghazi is originally from near Nasereh and holds Canadian citizenship. Nayil Falah, his son, says the Canadian government has done nothing to help him.

Since being arrested and until today, Ghazi-Walid was refused access to a lawyer, consulate staff, or other visitors - a blatant violation of his human rights.

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1 comment:

John said...

I've read Falah's stuff on the Negev Bedouin. It's interesting, although I see no difference between him and other Israeli "establishment" scholars whom he attacks. Both groups have their sacred cows.

I hope this is cleared up. To me, it sounds like he was at the wrong place, at a bad time. I assume he'll be let go soon. You can't really blame the Shin Beth, which isn't all too familiar with the world of academic geography, to be suspicious of someone who has recently travelled to Teheran and Lebanon and is deeply hostile to Israel. On the other hand, it seems very unlikely that an established academic with a high profile would serve as a Hizbullah agent.