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1ST LEAD Israeli court hears case of US student detained over boycott views By Eliyahu Kamisher, dpa

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Tel Aviv (dpa) - An Israeli court on Thursday held a hearing in the case of a detained US student who was barred from entering the country over her alleged support for boycotts of Israel.

Lara Alqasem, 22, who is of Palestinian descent, has remained in a detention centre for over a week pending appeal. She attempted to enter Israel last week on a student visa to start a graduate degree at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Alqasem was prevented from entering over her past affiliation with Students for Justice in Palestine, which supports boycotts of Israel under the so-called Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

The judge at the Tel Aviv district court is expected to rule on the validity of the government‘s decision to bar her within the next few days.

Her lawyer, Yotam Ben-Hillel, sought to convince the court that Alqasem has not been active in the BDS movement for over a year and thus should not of had her visa revoked on those grounds.

According to Ben-Hillel, the government presented new evidence at the hearing showing that she had indicated that she was attending BDS-affiliated events on Facebook in 2018.

The student is free to return to the United States, but she chose to remain in the detention centre at Ben Gurion Airport because she is determined to start her graduate programme on time, her Ben-Hillel said.

During her previous testimony to the appeals court, Alqasem said she no longer supports BDS.

BDS says it seeks an economic and cultural boycott of what it calls Israel‘s "entire regime of oppression" in the name of Palestinian human rights. Israel accuses the movement of anti-Semitism and seeking an end to the Jewish-majority state by promoting the return of Palestinian refugees.


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(12.12.2018 00:07)

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