Jailed professor released on bail by PA court

12:00 Aug 29 2011 Nablus

NABLUS (Ma'an) -- A political science professor imprisoned after a Nablus university [president] accused him of incitement and defamation was released on bail on Monday.

Lecturer and writer Dr Abdul-Sattar Qassim, 62, was detained on Thursday after a Nablus court charged him with incitement and defamation, following allegations by An-Najah University President Rami Al-Hamdallah.

On Saturday, informed sources told Ma'an his detention had been extended by 15 days pending investigations.

The Palestinian Authority Attorney General on Monday denied media reports that Qasim was freed by a presidential order, saying the judicial decision was made independently.

"The news circulated by media outlets that the decision for his release was taken by President Mahmoud Abbas were completely false," Ahmad Al-Mughani said in a statement, adding that the president did not intervene with the judiciary.

Qasim paid 3,000 Jordanian dinar ($4,233) bail to guarantee his return to court for further proceedings.

The professor wrote an article published on Ma'an on August 21 claiming that An-Najah had refused to implement a decision of the Palestinian High Court to readmit two students barred from the university, allegedly for brawling on campus in April 2010.

The university responded on Wednesday that due process had been followed, as the two students were transferred to another institution to complete their studies according to a decision by the university's council of deans.

An-Najah University President Rami Al-Hamdallah later filed charges against the professor.

An-Najah is ranked as the top Palestinian university and is among the top 5 percent of 22,000 universities worldwide, according to a study by a Spanish public research body in July 2011.
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