Israel Releases U.S. Resident Accused of Torching Station

An Israeli court has ordered the release from jail of a Philadelphia-area resident and human rights activist who was arrested on suspicion of arson, incitement and contact with a foreign agent.

Bashar Tarabieh, a Druse who now lives in the United States, was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of torching a police station in the Golan community of Mas’ada.

He is also suspected of incitement and having contact with a foreign agent three years ago.

Tarabieh has maintained his innocence.

Tarabieh arrived in the area in mid-June and worked on a human rights project in the West Bank until mid-July, according to Israeli media. He then worked at his family’s orchard on the Golan Heights, picking pears. He was arrested as he planned to leave the country.

Under a compromise proposed by the Acre Magistrates Court judge, Tarabieh was released Monday and agreed to spend the next two days in an area hotel. He agreed to be available to police for further questioning, and not to use the phone during that time.

Human Rights Watch, the U.S.-based group for which Tarabieh served as a consultant, said that during Tarabieh’s detention at Jalameh prison near Haifa, he was tied up in painful positions and forced to sit for hours.

The group said he was also denied regular meals.

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