Following Protests, Police Release Wife of Palestinian Lawyer Under Investigation

Palestinian and Israeli lawyers say Amal Barghout's detention was entirely designed to exert pressure on her husband, who was arrested last week alongside senior figure in a militant group

FILE Photo: Ofer prison.
Olivier Fitoussi

The Ofer military court in the West Bank released on Wednesday Amal Barghout, the wife of an attorney who was arrested in Ramallah last week alongside a senior figure in a Fatah-linked militant group. Tarek Barghout has been undergoing questioning by the the Shin Bet for the past week. 

Amal Barghout was arrested early on Tuesday morning. About 30 Palestinian and Israeli lawyers immediately filed motions calling for her unconditional release, arguing that there were no suspicions against her and that her detention was designed entirely to exert pressure on her husband. 

Tarek Barghout was arrested alongside Zekariya Zubeidi, a senior figure in the Palestinian Prisoners’ Ministry, formerly of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Both are suspected of recent involvement in terrorist activity, according to the Israeli military spokesperson’s office and the Shin Bet.

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A security source told Haaretz that Amal Barghout had been arrested as part of the investigation into her husband. In response to her arrest, lawyers at Ofer and Salem military courts called a protest strike and refused to go to hearings.

On Tuesday night, about 14 hours after her arrest, with the courtroom full of lawyers, vice president of the Ofer military court Col. Ran Amar ordered her immediate release. Amar also demanded a deposit of 10,000 shekels be paid as a guarantee. Amal Barghout's release was held up for 24 hours to give the police time to decide whether to appeal the ruling, which they eventually didn't.

Gaby Lasky, an Israeli attorney also involved in the efforts to free Barghout, told Haaretz that “had there been any suspicions against her from the start, Amal Barghout would have been arrested along with her husband.”

Tarek Barghout, who also works at the prisoner affairs ministry, represented many prisoners jailed for security-related offenses. In the past he has been arrested for online incitement for some of his Facebook posts.