Jawad Botmeh, research manager at London Metropolitan University’s Working Lives Research Institute - where he has worked since 2008 - was suspended last month after being elected as staff representative on the university’s board of governors.
The university has now lifted Mr Botmeh’s suspension – meaning he can also take up his place on the board - although it said “other aspects of investigation continue”.
In 1996, the Palestinian was found guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions in connection with two car bombings, one outside the Israeli Embassy in London. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison but has always maintained his innocence. In 2001, Amnesty International said it was concerned that Mr Botmeh had been “denied [his] right to a fair trial”.
London Met also suspended Max Watson, a research administrator at the WLRI and Unison branch chair, and Steve Jefferys, director of the WLRI, for their parts in Mr Botmeh’s original appointment. But the university has now lifted their suspensions as well, although it said that “investigations are still proceeding”.
Supporters of the men have highlighted the fact Mr Watson and the Unison branch, of which Mr Botmeh is also a member, have been vocal opponents of the university’s outsourcing plans.
Professor Jefferys had written to the university governors insisting that the human resources department was informed of Mr Botmeh’s conviction when he applied for, and was given, a longer-term appointment in 2010.
London Met said last week that its HR director, Lyn Link, is to leave the university after Easter for a “career break”. It said her departure after 24 years at London Met was “unconnected” with the current controversy.
Malcolm Gillies, London Met vice-chancellor, says in a message to staff about the investigation into Mr Botmeh: “I am pleased to say that one part of that investigation is now concluded.
“It was into the trust and confidence that the university, as employer, could have in Jawad Botmeh, as a research manager, and I have ruled that the university can have that trust and confidence. Please welcome him as he returns to work today.”
But Professor Gillies added: “Other aspects of investigation continue.”
The vice-chancellor said in a separate statement on Mr Botmeh’s membership of the board of governors: “Jawad Botmeh is a governor of London Metropolitan University, and entitled to attend all relevant meetings of the board or its committees.”
The next board meeting is on 14 March.