Court in Israel Rules Druse Must Remain in Police Custody

The Haifa District Court has rejected an appeal from a Druse woman suspected of spying for Syria that she be released from police custody.

The spying charges against Ilham Abu Salakh have the potential to harm chances for a new Israeli-Syrian diplomatic initiative.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is slated to visit Damascus when she makes her scheduled trip to the region next week.

Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Eliahu Ben-Elissar said Wednesday that there was “some hope” for a resumption of Israeli-Syrian negotiations, which have been suspended for more than a year, but he did not explain the basis for his optimism.

Turning down her appeal Wednesday, the Haifa District Court judge said there were strong indications that the allegations against Abu Salakh required thorough examination.

Another Israeli court last week allowed publication of details of the arrest of Abu Salakh, who studies psychology in Damascus.

Abu Salakh and her family have vehemently denied the allegations her.

News of her arrest set off protests and a general strike last week in the Druse town of Majdal Shams, on the Golan Heights, where Abu Salakh lives.

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