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Occupation magazine - Activism

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Drama on the tarmac - Palestinian professor`s deportation averted at the last moment
On Wednesday morning, a private jet chartered by the US government landed in
Tel Aviv.

On board was Abdelhaleem Ashqar, a Palestinian business professor who ran
for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority in 2005.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were attempting to secretly
deport him to Israel, which would then transfer him to the West Bank.

But contrary to the plan, the aircraft was met by a US embassy official who
told the ICE agents on board that they could not hand Ashqar over.

Pursuant to an emergency order issued by a federal judge back in Virginia,
Ashqar had to remain on the plane in US custody.

He would sit on the grounded plane for more than a day while a legal drama
unfolded back in the US.

This account was provided to The Electronic Intifada by Patrick Taurel,
Ashqars attorney.

Ashqar told Taurel and members of his family what happened, following his
return to the United States late Thursday US time.

Ashqars return capped an extraordinary 72 hours in which ICE deliberately
lied to Ashqar and his lawyer before essentially abducting him and putting
him on the jet bound for Tel Aviv.

It was only the intervention of US District Judge T.S. Ellis III that
ensured that Ashqar was brought back to the US after his ordeal.
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