Israel Secretly Holding Al-Qaida Bio-weapons Expert for Three Years

The High Court to rule on Samar Albarak, an administrative detainee, who has been held in Israel since August 2010.

A Palestinian who Israel says is active in Al-Qaida, has been held in administrative detention in Israel for over three years. The High Court of Justice is due to hear his appeal on Monday.

Samar Halami Abed Allatif Albarak, who has been in administrative detention since August 2010, has requested that the court order his release, but the Shin Bet security service is expected to ask that his detention order be extended by a further six months.

Born in Qalqilyah in 1974, Albarak studied micro-biology in Pakistan. According to the state's response to the appeal, he underwent military training in Afghanistan in 1988, and joined Al-Qaida three years later. The state further maintains that "the appellant accumulated knowledge and experience in various forms of non-conventional weapons, especially biological weapons, and was in touch with Al-Qaida's leadership."

The state added that Albarak was involved in a terror attack against Israeli and Jewish tourists in Jordan in 2001, and agreed to teach Palestinian militants how to produce toxic substances for use in terror attacks in Israel. His release, according to the state, "would constitute a point-of-no-return for the establishment of a significant base for the world Jihad in the region."

Albarak's family argues that he has been targeted by the authorities because he is a devout Muslim who follows a radical ideology, despite not being involved in any activity that could constitute a threat to the public. Albarak's attorney, Saleh Mahameed, told Haaretz that Albarak did indeed spend time in Afghanistan and Pakistan and admits to contacts with Al-Qaida leaders - but he only offered them medical services, not any form of military service.

Due to his Al-Qaida connections, Albarak was arrested by U.S. and Jordanian authorities.

The state maintains that Albarak was imprisoned in Jordan between 2003 and 2008 "due to his activity in a terror organization and his involvement in the biological weapons project." After being expelled from Jordan he reached the Israeli border and was arrested in the Allenby Crossing.

Mahameed says that Albarak did not reach the crossing of his own free will, but rather, was handed over to Israel by the Jordanian authorities.

The first administrative detention order was issued in August 2010 and it has been extended ever since. Over the years Albarak gone on hunger strike three times he has lost half  his weight, according to his family.

According to the military prosecutor, the courts have often ordered shortening the detention period in order to examine the possibility of deporting Albarak, but the option never materialized.

When his administrative detention was last extended in July, the military court wrote: "The appellant is an Al-Qaida operative with personal and direct connections to the current leaders of the organization. One cannot argue as to the special danger he poses, and that his return to the area would set off military actions by the Salafi Jihad against the state of Israel."