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Barred Islamic leader wins UK deportation appeal

LONDON (AP) – An Islamic activist in Israel who entered Britain despite being banned has won an appeal against his deportation.

Islamic Movement in Israel leader Sheikh Raed Salah flew to Britain in June, despite an order from Home Secretary Theresa May banning him over his political activities. He was detained, held for three weeks and released on bail.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign said Sunday that Salah received a letter from Britain’s Upper Immigration Tribunal saying his detention was “entirely unnecessary” and that his appeal has succeeded “on all grounds.”

Britain’s Home Office said that it was “disappointed” with the tribunal’s decision. “We are considering the detailed judgment and if we can appeal, we will,” it said in a statement.

Salah’s legal team claimed he had not been aware of the ban, had entered the country with a passport issued in his name, and had made “no attempt” to conceal his identity.

Salah arrived at Heathrow Airport on June 25 and was detained three days later. He later sought damages for unlawful detention, and the High Court ruled that since he was not given “proper and sufficient reasons” for his arrest until the third day of his detention, he should receive damages for that period.

Salah, an Israeli citizen, has spearheaded the fight against Israeli renovation work near the holy compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary _ alleging that Israelis were plotting to undermine the foundations of the Islamic shrines that stand at the site.

In 2003, Israel jailed Salah for more than two years, saying his organization funneled money to the Palestinian militant group Hamas, responsible for dozens of deadly suicide bombings in Israel.

Britain regularly acts to exclude controversial figures from the country, although it has had mixed success doing that.

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