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Since 2004, around 900 of Birzeit University students have been arrested by the Israeli occupying forces. Among them are 16 female students. Currently, over 70 students are detained in Israeli prisons, many under administrative detention*. Israeli forces have arrested more than ten student council representatives, out of which seven were heads of the student council at the time of arrest.
Today, the students are casting their votes for the new student council. Five student blocs are competing for 51 seats: Martyr Yasser Arafat, the Democratic Progressive Student Pole, Al Wafaa Islamic Bloc, Student Unity Bloc, and the Progressive Student Union. Meanwhile, more than 70 students are deprived from their right of participation in the student Council election of Birzeit University because of their arrest by Israeli forces.
Students not only they are deprived from their right to vote and their freedom of expression, but also they are denied from their basic right to education. They are forced to stop their studies for the length of their sentence, as the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) refuses to even allow Palestinian political prisoners to study at Palestinian institutions by correspondence.
Birzeit University’s student council elections represent the principles of democracy and liberty among all students and council members. The values of freedom and justice that these elections uphold align with Birzeit University’s vision that the university is a platform for integrity and transparency in Palestine.
* Administrative detention is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. Since the same year, more than ten student council representatives have been arrested by Israeli forces, out of which seven were presidents of the student union at the time of arrest.