CCS protests Israel’s detention without charges of Dr. Imad al-Barghouthi, an astro-physicist and professor at al-Quds University, while he was traveling to the United Arab Emirates to a conference. Such interference with academic freedom and due process violates international conventions, CCS writes, as well as human rights specifically mentioned in Israel’s agreement with the EU for research and innovation according to Bargouthi’s European colleagues.
Prime Minister of Israel
Prime Minister’s Office
3 Kaplan St. Hakirya
Jerusalem 91950, Israel
January 17, 2015
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu:
We write now in concern for Professor Imad al-Barghouthi.
Professor Barghouti of al-Quds University is an astro-physicist and founder of the Arab Union of astronomy and science. He obtained his doctorate at the University of Utah and worked at the US space agency before returning to Jerusalem. Barghouti was arrested on December 6, 2014 by Israeli authorities at the Karama border as he was on his way to the United Arab Emirates to attend the 11th Arab Astronomy Congress. We understand that he is being held under a three-month, now reduced to two months, renewable military court order. According to unconfirmed reports, Barghouthi’s arrest may be connected to his opposition to the Gaza operation last summer.
Barghouthi’s detention without any accusation of wrongdoing is a serious violation of his human rights. Preventing his attendance at a scientific conference is a serious violation of academic freedom, as guaranteed by the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, especially Article 15’s guarantee of access to the benefits of science. The detention also violates the right to travel protected by the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. Israel is a signatory to both conventions. To the extent that Barghouti’s arrest penalizes his expression of opinion on the Gaza operations, it also violates his freedom of speech. Finally, we join our numerous European colleagues who protested Barghouti’s arrest to the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, as a violation of the respect for human rights required under Israel’s agreement with the European Union for research and innovation.
We urge you to immediately order the release of Imad al-Barghouthi or bring charges against him. Doing neither greatly undercuts Israel’s desire to have its scientists treated properly in other countries and greatly tarnishes Israel’s image.
Sincerely,Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich,
Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists