High Court stalls deportation of Human Rights Watch official

Interior Ministry had ordered Omar Shakir out of the country over claims he supports a boycott of Israel, but move now delayed as appeal considered

Human Rights Watch's Israel and Palestine director Omar Shakir (YouTube screenshot)
Human Rights Watch's Israel and Palestine director Omar Shakir (YouTube screenshot)

The High Court of Justice has delayed the deportation of Human Rights Watch’s director in Israel following a petition challenging the move, his lawyer said Thursday.

The Jerusalem District Court last month rejected an earlier petition against the decision to deport Omar Shakir, a US citizen, ruling he had until May 1 to leave.

But the High Court issued an injunction allowing Shakir to remain in Israel for seven days, attorney Michael Sfard said.

During this period, the Interior Ministry can submit its response to the appeal which Shakir lodged at the High Court.

After the May 7 deadline, the court “could theoretically issue a new decision” on the case, Sfard told AFP.

Human Rights Watch’s Israel and Palestine director Omar Shakir, a US citizen, sits in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 9, 2018. (Abbas Momani/AFP)

The Interior Ministry’s decision to deny Shakir his work and residency permits was due to his alleged support of a boycott of Israel over its policies toward Palestinians — a claim accepted by the district court.

HRW denied the group or Shakir promoted a boycott of Israel, calling the April district court ruling a “new and dangerous interpretation of the law,” since it equated boycotting businesses operating in the West Bank to boycotting Israel.

In 2017, Israel passed a law granting the government the right to ban entry to foreigners who support boycotting the country.

The law was passed in response to the movement to boycott Israel.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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