Arab-Israeli activist to appeal UK deportation ruling

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An Arab-Israeli Islamist leader detained in Britain since June will appeal against a ruling that he should be deported, his lawyer said on Friday.

An immigration tribunal ruled last month that pro-Palestinian activist Sheikh Raed Saleh, arrested after managing to enter Britain despite a ban on him doing so, should be deported.

Lawyers for the interior ministry argued the presence of Saleh, the head of the northern wing of Israel's Islamic Movement, was not conducive to the public good.

Critics of Saleh, who has had repeated run-ins with the law in Israel and has spent time in prison, claim he is anti-Semitic -- an allegation he denies.

The activist was on Monday granted permission to appeal the October 26 immigration tribunal ruling that he should be deported, his lawyer Tayab Ali said.

A judge gave him permission to appeal on six grounds, including that there was no evidence his previous visits to Britain caused problems, said Ali.

"It is clear that the home secretary (interior minister Theresa May) has repeatedly exercised poor judgment," said the lawyer in a statement.

"The home secretary has consistently failed to show what evidence of actual harm might exist that would justify a government preventing Sheikh Saleh from addressing legislators, policymakers and the British people."

No date has been set for the appeal but Ali said he hoped it would be heard in the coming days. Saleh is currently free on bail.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: "As this decision is subject to an appeal it would be inappropriate to comment further."

Father-of-eight Saleh was arrested in London on June 28, several days after arriving for a 10-day trip during which he was due to address several meetings including one in parliament organised by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.

In September, a judge at the High Court in London ruled that he was entitled to damages from the government for being unlawfully detained, 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.

© 2011 AFP

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