Israel: American BDS Supporter to remain in detention pending court decision

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A 22-year-old American supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel will remain in detention pending a court’s decision on whether she will be allowed to remain in the country.

Lara Alqasem has been locked up in a detention facility in Israel after she was detained at Ben Gurion Airport last Tuesday for being associated with BDS. The refusal of entry was made based on a law from March 2017 that prohibits entry to foreigners who publicly boycott Israel or the West Bank settlements.

After court proceedings, Alqasem’s lawyer Leora Bechor argued that the detainment of Alqasem proves that the state is outlawing freedom of thought, rather than activism.

“They have prohibited thought. And it’s unfortunate that in an Israeli democracy we have two ministers here saying if you believe in BDS, and if you think it’s legitimate, you have no right in this country,” she said, referring to statements from the Minister for the Interior and Minister of Strategic Affairs.

Alqasem will remain in detention until the judge reaches a decision.

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