Last Updated: Mon Apr 16, 2012 23:48 pm (KSA) 20:48 pm (GMT)

Arab-Israeli Islamist leader returns to Israel

A British immigration tribunal ruled in October that Sheikh Raed Saleh should be deported. (AFP)
A British immigration tribunal ruled in October that Sheikh Raed Saleh should be deported. (AFP)

Arab-Israeli Islamist leader Sheikh Raed Saleh returned to Israel on Monday after winning an annulment of an order for his deportation from Britain, an Israeli immigration official told AFP.

“He entered without problems as he has Israeli nationality,” Sabine Haddad said.

A British immigration tribunal ruled in October that the pro-Palestinian activist, arrested after managing to enter Britain despite a ban, should be deported.

But a higher tribunal granted Saleh’s appeal earlier this month.

Britain’s Interior Minister Theresa May had argued unsuccessfully that the presence of Saleh, the head of the northern wing of Israel’s Islamic Movement, was not conducive to the public good.

The father of eight was arrested in London in June, several days after arriving for a 10-day trip during which he was due to address several meetings including one in parliament organized by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.

Saleh was later freed on bail under strict conditions, including that he wear an electronic tag and report daily to immigration officials.

In September, the High Court in London ruled that he was entitled to damages from the government as he was not informed why he was being held until two days after his arrest.

But the court rejected the claim that his detention as a whole was unlawful.

Saleh has had multiple run-ins with the law in Israel, including most recently being arrested at the border with Jordan after allegedly striking an interrogator.

In 2010, he spent five months behind bars for spitting at an Israeli policeman, and he has been detained on a number of other occasions, including in connection with an alleged arson incident.

Critics of Saleh claim he is anti-Semitic -- an allegation he denies.

The Islamic Movement is tolerated in Israel but is under constant surveillance due to its perceived links with the militant Hamas movement that controls the Gaza Strip, as well as with other Islamist groups worldwide.

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