Detention of Bir Zeit University Professor Dr. Sari Husseibeh

Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir

Office of the Prime Minister

3 Kaplan Street

Kiryat Ben Gurion

Jerusalem 91919


Your Excellency: 

The Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association is deeply concerned about the administrative detention of Dr. Sari Nusseibeh, professor of philosophy at Bir Zeit University, on 29 January 1991. The Middle East Studies Association, which comprises 2200 academics worldwide who teach and conduct research on the Middle East and North Africa, is committed to ensuring respect for academic freedom throughout the region. 

The Committee on Academic Freedom is concerned that Professor Nusseibeh was sentenced to six months' imprisonment without any specific legal charges being issued against him, without any publicly disclosed evidence, and without being entitled to a trial. 

We respectfully request that your government publicly disclose all evidence that has been relied on in arresting Professor Nusseibeh and that indicates that he has committed an offense that is recognizably criminal according to international standards. We further request that he be tried promptly in an open court where his due process rights are safeguarded. In the absence of such public evidence and of a prompt, fair, and open trial, we urge that Professor Nusseibeh be immediately released. 

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to your response. 


Anne H. Betteridge

Executive Director 


Shmuel Goren, Coordinator of Activities in the Territories 

Ambassador Moshe Arad, Embassy of Israel, Washington, DC

Ambassador William Brown, Embassy of the United States of America

John Hirsch, Israel Desk, US Department of State

Dr. Michael Van Dusen, House Committee on International Relations

Philip Wilcox, US Consul General, Jerusalem, Israel Senator

Nancy Kassebaum (Kansas), US Senate

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