Israeli court: Charge Jordanian-Canadian businessman or release him

An Israeli court on Thursday gave Israel’s internal security service six days to charge a Canadian-Jordanian businessman or else release him from custody, the man’s lawyer told AFP.

The Shin Bet has held Ibrahim Siyam, 58, for a month, after arresting him on May 5 when he tried to return to Jordan from the West Bank via the Allenby Bridge together with a group of other Jordanian businessmen. He had been invited by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to attend a conference in Ramallah on developing the PA economy. He was held for much of that time without being allowed access to a lawyer. 

Siyam is originally Palestinian, but left the region decades ago. Today, he divides his time between Jordan and Canada and is a citizen of both countries. He owns various companies around the world, including in China, Qatar and Croatia.

Avi Baram, who is representing him, told AFP that Siyam was being held over alleged ties to Hamas.

“The Israeli security services are accusing him of donating money to Hamas in Yarmouk refugee camp but he denies it,” Baram said, referring to a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Damascus that has been devastated by the Syrian civil war.

“He said he donated money to Yarmouk refugee camp. How could he know which family received his money and whom they support?” said Baram.

“They have also accused him of donating money to Hamas in Gaza which he also denies,” said Baram. “He told them he donated to Gaza through the Palestinian Authority; if they consider the Palestinian Authority to be Hamas then that is another matter.”

A Shin Bet spokesman told AFP that it was continuing to interrogate Siyyam but would not divulge any further details.


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