EuroScience has learned with concern about the arrest and administrative detention of the well-known Palestinian astronomer prof. Imad al-Barghouthi while traveling to a scientific conference. No reasons have been given and no information has been provided so far. EuroScience feels compelled to speak up for prof. al-Barghouthi and has requested the Israeli government through its Ambassador in France to provide information on his whereabouts, condition and the reason for his arrest.
His Excellency Mr. Yossi GAL
The Ambassador of Israel in France
3 rue Rabelais
Dr. Lauritz Holm-Nielsen, EuroScience President
Dr. Peter Tindemans, EuroScience Secretary General
We are approaching you in view of the arrest on December 6, 2014 of prof. dr. Imad al-Barghouthi, the well-known astrophysicist from al-Quds University at Jerusalem in the West Bank by the Israeli authorities at the Karama border post in the West Bank while on his way to the 11th Arab Conference on Astronomy and Space Sciences, which was held at the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Since then, very little news has filtered out about his condition. The only new information according to his lawyer, who was finally able to contact him, was that he was put in administrative detention for a period of three months.
EuroScience is the European grassroots organization of scientists. We have members across the globe, including in Israel. One of our objectives is to engage with governments and scientific institutions to improve career conditions for scientists and speak up for their rights and responsibilities. We have done so in the past on several occasions when basic rights of scientists or scientific institutions were threatened in various countries in Europe.
We therefore feel it our duty to speak up for prof. al-Barghouthi. Nothing that is known about the case of prof al-Barghouthi seems to warrant his arrest and until more is known we can only consider this to be a serious infringement on academic freedom. Administrative detention with its implication that charges against the person arrested do not need to be made public or even established, is a severe measure at odds with democratic societies.
We request that the Israeli government provides at short notice information on his whereabouts, his condition and the reason for his arrest.
Dr. Lauritz Holm-Nielsen Dr. Peter Tindemans
President Secretary General