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WAVE OF ARRESTS AT BIRZEIT UNIVERSITY


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From: Right2Edu [mailto:Right2edu@birzeit.edu]
Sent: 12 March 2008 14:07
To: Right2Edu
Subject: [SPAM] WAVE OF ARRESTS AT BIRZEIT UNIVERSITY

Wave of arrests at Birzeit University
Right to Education, R2E, 3 March 2008
http://right2edu.birzeit.edu/news/article512

 

Since January 2008, eight Birzeit University students and one employee have been arrested by the Israeli army. None of whom have been charged. This comes amongst a wave of arrests all over the West Bank under the pretext of the person belonging to a political party.

Three of the eight arrests are held under administrative detention - a system of incarceration without trial based on 'secret' evidence – meaning there was no evidence to suggest they violated any Israeli laws at the time of the arrest. Administrative Detention is detention authorized by administrative order rather than by judicial decree under the pretext that there is not yet sufficient evidence to merit a case but that the person should be incarcerated until enough evidence is found. Prisoners can spend many years in prison waiting for a charge to be brought against them. Birzeit University currently has a student who has been under administrative detention for 2.5 years.

The arrests include the acting head of the Student Council, Abdullah Owais, who replaced Fadi Hamad after he was detained in December 2007 and charged with belonging to an illegal organization and holding a position of responsibility while belonging to this organization. Fadi was arrested on Sunday 25 November 2007 by Israeli military Special Forces while on the road linking the Al-Jalazoon refugee camp with the West Bank city of Ramallah. On Thursday 6 December he was sentenced to a year imprisonment on the grounds that he belongs to the Islamic Bloc student group, which under Israeli military law is an illegal organization like any other student group affiliated to a political party.

The sentencing came as a result of an earlier probation order which required Fadi to give up membership to any political party for three years. In December 2004, Fadi had been arrested for being a member of the Islamic Bloc and sentenced to 10 months in prison. Since he had never been connected with any armed activity, he was released on probation early, in September 2005, on the condition that he did not engage with a student group for the next three years.

Birzeit's Right to Education Campaign lawyer explained that Fadi fell victim to a wave of politically motivated arrests which rest on flimsy legal proceedings, "His charge this time was based on a prisoner's confession obtained by Shin Bet [an Israeli intelligence agency], stating that Fadi was a member of 'Al Qutleh Islamieh' [Islamic Bloc] in 2006, but the army only chose to make a case of it now. They are using Administrative Detention more loosely than usual, not even bothering to claim they have 'secret evidence'."

Israeli military law criminalises membership to student councils which are politically affiliated to the major parties, but focus on the welfare and support for students. The continual arrest of student members is a means of crippling Palestinian political resistance. In Fadi's case, he was arrested for his political ideas alone because there were no charges of connection to an armed movement. It serves as a warning to all Palestinian students: 'today it is Fadi, but tomorrow it could be you.'

Administrative detentions and arrests of student council activists are a legalistic means to punish young Palestinians engaged in political activity. Birzeit University currently has 15 students held under administrative detention, and 95 students and employees in prison – 38 of whom have not yet been charged.

Mona Baker

Personal website: www.monabaker.com

Resources for Translation Studies:
www.monabaker.com/tsresources/

Click here to visit Birzeit's Right to Education Site: http://right2edu.birzeit.edu/

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Mercredi 12 Mars 2008

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