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The Palestinian Prisoner’s Day is observed on April 17 of this year – nearly fourty-two days after an undercover Israeli unit infiltrated Birzeit University’s campus and abducted 24-year-old political science student and head of Birzeit University’s Student Council, Omar Kiswani, in a flagrant violation of all international norms and laws that condemn attacks on academic institutions.
“Kiswani is being held at the Al-Maskobiyya interrogation center in occupied Jerusalem, where he has been subjected to interrogations for 18 to 20 hours a day in the first month of his arrest. He was also deprived of sleep and banned from seeing his lawyer for 25 days,” according to Palestinian Prisoners Society Lawyer Mamoun Al-Hasheem.
In a protest of all of these inhuman conditions, Omar declared his hunger strike on March 19, and he stopped his hunger strike after being allowed to see his lawyer for the first time since his arrest, on April 3,2018, fourteen days after starting his hunger strike.
Al-Hasheem explained: “Omar is still held in an isolated cell, away from sunlight and any interaction with human beings. He is detained under really hard conditions.”
He continued: “On Monday, April 16, the Israeli military court extended the interrogation period for another 8 days, and this is the sixth time that the Israeli military court has renewed Omar’s detention.”
Omar is not the only student from Birzeit University detained in Israeli prisons. Since 2004, around 800 of the university’s students have been arrested, among them 16 women. Over 60 students are currently held under Israeli detention.
The Right to Education Campaign at Birzeit University calls upon all conscientious individuals and groups around the world to actively engage in supporting our struggle for liberation from colonialism. We urge students and academics to highlight Israel’s continued colonial violations within their campuses and beyond, as well as lobby their parliamentary representatives to hold Israel accountable for its violation of the rights of the Palestinians.