Palestinian doctor charged in ‘new IRA’ investigation must remain in custody, judge says
A Palestinian doctor accused in connection with a major surveillance operation against the New ARI must remain in detention, a High Court judge ruled today.
Issam Bassalat, 63, was seeking bail as he was denied access to urgent spinal surgery.
But Madam Justice Keegan turned down her latest offer of release after being told of a new timeline for the proceedings. She said, “The app is effectively redundant now.”
Dr Bassalat, with a speech at Telford Road in Edinburgh, faces a charge of attending an alleged meeting of the New ARI.
He is one of ten people prosecuted following a joint PSNI and MI5 attack on the activities of the terrorist group.
The transaction involved the wiretapping of two alleged meetings at Co Tyrone properties last year. Dr Bassalat was then detained at Heathrow Airport in August.
He faces a single count of preparatory terrorism acts while attending and speaking at an IRA meeting in Omagh on July 19.
Earlier courts have heard allegations that the doctor was part of a conspiracy plan to procure weapons.
But the accused insists he was misled and tricked into attending by an alleged MI5 agent.
His lawyers stressed that he was suspected of playing a lesser role than his co-defendant, as well as his “impeccable” character and decades of medical work.
Surety was sought due to deteriorating health and the need for surgery.
Prosecution attorney said arrangements are in place for Dr Bassalat to be escorted for proceedings scheduled for this month.
That appointment had to be quashed for security reasons after the date was made public, the court said.
It was claimed that the Respondent or his representatives “disclosed” these details.
“A new timetable has been set,” added the crown attorney.
Defense attorney Malachy McGowan insisted no disclosure could have been made as the date was never confirmed.
“Dr Bassalat is currently being held in circumstances where he is denied access to emergency medical treatment,” said Mr McGowan.
“It is necessary because he suffers from acute and continuous pain, and the delay could potentially result in permanent long-term loss of function.”
Denying bail, Judge Keegan cited confirmation that proceedings are now scheduled on the NHS.
She added: “It satisfies me that the medical issues are ongoing.”