Israel has admitted that it has detained an al-Qaeda suspect without trial for the past three years, in response to a court petition brought forth by the suspect.
The country’s justice ministry said on Monday that Samir al-Baraq, a Kuwaiti-born Palestinian, has been jailed since he crossed over into Israel from Jordan on 2010.
The ministry had also asked the court to extend his detention by six months as it was set to expire in three days.
“We petitioned the court because in three days the Israeli authorities will be renewing his administrative detention order,” Baraq’s lawyer, Saleh Mahameed, told AFP news agency ahead of Monday’s hearing.
But the ministry argued that releasing Baraq would mark a “point of no return for the development of significant jihadi infrastructure in the region”.
Under what Israel calls “administrative detention”, suspects can be imprisoned without trial by order of a military court. Such orders can be renewed indefinitely for up to six months at a time.
The documents allege Baraq is an al-Qaeda activist involved in planning attacks on Jewish tourists in Jordan in 2001, and training Palestinians to manufacture poison to use against Israelis.
They also say that Baraq studied microbiology in Pakistan in 1997, received military training in Afghanistan in 1998 and in 2001 was recruited by al-Qaeda and acquired “knowledge and experience” in non-conventional weaponry, especially biological weapons.
Israeli media reports have said that Baraq had been arrested by US authorities and interrogated for three months at Guantanamo Bay in 2003, after which he was deported to Jordan.
“You can’t hold a person without taking him to court for old charges the Jordanians and Americans have already investigated,” Mahameed said.