British High Court rules that Islamic leader who entered UK despite ban was held unlawfully due to immigration officials' failure to inform him of reasons behind his arrest
British high court says an Islamic activist who entered Britain despite being banned is entitled to damages for wrongful detention. The leader of the Islamic Movement's northern branch in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, flew to Britain in June, despite an order from Home Secretary Theresa May banning him because of his political activities. He was detained shortly afterward and held for three weeks before being bailed.
Salah's lawyers say he traveled to Britain legally and was unaware of the ban. He is fighting deportation.The High Court ruled Friday that Salah was not given "proper and sufficient reasons" for his arrest until the third day of his detention, and should receive damages for that period.
Addressing the court's ruling, Sheikh Kamal Khatib, Raed's deputy, claimed that the arrest was an Israeli ploy.
"We knew from the beginning that the whole deal was a political game, and that Israel's government is behind it. It aimed to humiliate Sheikh Salah," Khatib told Ynet. "We have proved to the whole world that Salah entered Britain legally, and did not break any laws."
The Guardian reported that senior officials at the UK Border Agency opposed the home secretary decision to deport the Palestinian cleric, warning that the evidence against him was disputed and could prompt further legal action.
The home secretary's defense argued that she was legally permitted to order Salah's detention pending deportation.
The British government banned Salah from entering the UK because of his radical views. He has served time in Israeli jails for assaulting a police officer and holding contact with a foreign agent. Salah also participated in the Gaza flotilla last year.
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