'On Wednesday morning, a private jet chartered by the US government landed in Tel Aviv.
On board was Abdelhaleem Ashqar, a Palestinian business professor who ran for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority in 2005.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were attempting to secretly deport him to Israel.
But contrary to the plan, the aircraft was met by a US embassy official who told the ICE agents on board that they could not hand Ashqar over.
Pursuant to an emergency order issued by a federal judge back in Virginia, Ashqar had to remain on the plane in US custody.
He would sit on the grounded plane for more than a day while a legal drama unfolded back in the US.
This account was provided to The Electronic Intifada by Patrick Taurel, Ashqar’s attorney.
Ashqar told Taurel and members of his family what happened, following his return to the United States late Thursday US time.
Ashqar’s return capped an extraordinary 72 hours in which ICE deliberately lied to Ashqar and his lawyer before essentially abducting him and putting him on the jet bound for Tel Aviv.
It was only the intervention of US District Judge T.S Ellis III that ensured that Ashqar was brought back to the US after his ordeal.
It involved a late-night hearing by telephone in which the judge demanded to know if the government could land the plane in any other country before it reached Tel Aviv, or return it to Vienna where it had stopped to refuel.
Ashqar is now being held at a detention center in Bowling Green, Virginia.'
Read more: Drama on the tarmac: US judge foils secret deportation to Israel
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