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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 October 2018

Israel court halts expulsion of French-US academic seized at demo

Frank Romano was arrested while protesting against the demolition of a Palestinian village 

Frank Romano, an American-French law professor, arrives to the West Bank Bedouin community of Khan Al Ahmar after he has been released from Israeli police custody. AP
Frank Romano, an American-French law professor, arrives to the West Bank Bedouin community of Khan Al Ahmar after he has been released from Israeli police custody. AP

An American-French law professor arrested while protesting against the demolition of a Palestinian village in the West Bank says an Israeli court has revoked a deportation order against him.

Frank Romano, who teaches law at the Paris Nanterre University, was released late Sunday on the orders of the Jerusalem magistrates court and spoke in a video posted on social media.

He said that police had earlier handed him to immigration officials for immediate deportation without a court hearing but he refused to sign a consent form.

"The judge called the immigration and said 'bring him back' and we had the hearing," he said.

In the courtroom, the judge ordered his release, he said.

Supporters said he was allowed to stay in Israel until September 25, the original date of his return flight.

He was ordered to lodge a surety of 1,000 shekels ($256, 240 euros) and provide a guarantor for a separate 5,000 shekel bond, they said.

Mr Romano was detained on Friday while taking part in a demonstration at the Bedouin village of Khan Al Ahmar, east of Jerusalem.

The village of roughly 200 people in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is at risk of being demolished at any time, despite fierce criticism from key European nations.

On September 5, Israel's supreme court upheld an order to raze it on grounds it was built without the proper permits.

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It is extremely rare for Palestinians to be given Israeli permits to build in Area C of the West Bank, where Khan Al Ahmar is situated.

The village is located in a strategic spot near Israeli settlements and along a road leading to the Dead Sea.

There have been warnings that continued settlement construction in the area could eventually divide the West Bank in two and cut it off from Jerusalem, dealing a death blow to any remaining hopes of a two-state solution.

Anti-demolition activists said Romano was arrested along with two Palestinian protesters when they tried to block bulldozers sent in by Israeli authorities to seal off an access road to the village.

Pictures on social media show him being led from the scene by Israeli riot police.

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