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Right to Education

Statement about the Israeli occupation’s arrest of Birzeit University students, faculty members

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Since the beginning of the academic year 2019–2020, the number of Birzeit University student arrests has  increased rapidly. Israeli occupying forces have detained around 74 students, six of them in 2020.

Furthermore, Media professor Widad Barghouti was arrested on September 1, 2019; he has been released but remains under house arrest.

Over the past year, Israeli attacks against the university have increased and escalated, with arrests reaching a peak in the period between this August and December 2019.

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association has reported a growing number of cases of severe physical torture during the interrogation of students. Among them is Mays Abu Ghosh, arrested on August 29, 2020, who has been subjected to harsh interrogation conditions, being forced to stay in painful positions such as squatting, the “banana” (being tied by the arms to the legs of a stool on which the detainee is laid, arched on his/her back), and more for extended hours; she has been beaten repeatedly. Abu Ghosh was not allowed to see her lawyer for the first 25 days of her arrest, with the military court repeatedly extending her interrogation even though it had been informed of her deteriorating health condition as a result of the interrogation.

Social and behavioral sciences student Ribhi Karajah was arrested on August 26, 2019, and subjected to an interrogation that lasted for 104 days while being detained in Al-Moscobiyyeh interrogation center. Several torture methods were used on Karajah as well, including solitary confinement, beating, forcing him to stay in painful positions for extended periods of time, continuous interrogation for long hours, and more. He was prevented from seeing a lawyer for the first 40 days of his arrest.

Engineering student and former student council president Osama Al-Fakhouri was arrested from his dormitory on July 2, 2019. The dormitory door was blown up, and police dogs were used. His leg was injured when a dog bit him right below the kneecap and was left bleeding. While arresting him, soldiers punched his face until he started bleeding as well. Al-Fakhoury was subjected to an interrogation that lasted 55 days. Initially denied medical treatment, he was given an anti-inflammatory shot for the bite only after a long delay. Osama saw his lawyer for the first time after 40 days, during which time he was forced to stay in painful positions for long times and subjected to extended interrogation periods that lasted around 20 hours per day.

It is worth mentioning that Al-Fakhoury was subjected to a polygraph test during interrogation. He still suffers from pains due to his injury and intentional medical neglect.

Currently, six Birzeit University students are held in Al-Moscobiyyeh interrogation center. Of these, Abd Al Majeed Hasan, Oday Al Khateeb, Yahya Rummana and Ahmad Abu Kuweik are being prevented from seeing their lawyers

Birzeit University and the Right to Education Campaign condemn these practices and call upon all journalists, media, and international organizations to take a stand against these severe human rights violations and to take the initiative to raise awareness worldwide, expose these cases and the practices that target our students and academics, and hold the occupation authorities accountable at the international human rights court.

Since the beginning of the academic year 2019–2020, the number of Birzeit University student arrests has  increased rapidly. Israeli occupying forces have detained around 74 students, six of them in 2020.

Furthermore, Media professor Widad Barghouti was arrested on September 1, 2019; he has been released but remains under house arrest.

Over the past year, Israeli attacks against the university have increased and escalated, with arrests reaching a peak in the period between this August and December 2019.

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association has reported a growing number of cases of severe physical torture during the interrogation of students. Among them is Mays Abu Ghosh, arrested on August 29, 2020, who has been subjected to harsh interrogation conditions, being forced to stay in painful positions such as squatting, the “banana” (being tied by the arms to the legs of a stool on which the detainee is laid, arched on his/her back), and more for extended hours; she has been beaten repeatedly. Abu Ghosh was not allowed to see her lawyer for the first 25 days of her arrest, with the military court repeatedly extending her interrogation even though it had been informed of her deteriorating health condition as a result of the interrogation.

Social and behavioral sciences student Ribhi Karajah was arrested on August 26, 2019, and subjected to an interrogation that lasted for 104 days while being detained in Al-Moscobiyyeh interrogation center. Several torture methods were used on Karajah as well, including solitary confinement, beating, forcing him to stay in painful positions for extended periods of time, continuous interrogation for long hours, and more. He was prevented from seeing a lawyer for the first 40 days of his arrest.

Engineering student and former student council president Osama Al-Fakhouri was arrested from his dormitory on July 2, 2019. The dormitory door was blown up, and police dogs were used. His leg was injured when a dog bit him right below the kneecap and was left bleeding. While arresting him, soldiers punched his face until he started bleeding as well. Al-Fakhoury was subjected to an interrogation that lasted 55 days. Initially denied medical treatment, he was given an anti-inflammatory shot for the bite only after a long delay. Osama saw his lawyer for the first time after 40 days, during which time he was forced to stay in painful positions for long times and subjected to extended interrogation periods that lasted around 20 hours per day.

It is worth mentioning that Al-Fakhoury was subjected to a polygraph test during interrogation. He still suffers from pains due to his injury and intentional medical neglect.

Currently, six Birzeit University students are held in Al-Moscobiyyeh interrogation center. Of these, Abd Al Majeed Hasan, Oday Al Khateeb, Yahya Rummana and Ahmad Abu Kuweik are being prevented from seeing their lawyers

Birzeit University and the Right to Education Campaign condemn these practices and call upon all journalists, media, and international organizations to take a stand against these severe human rights violations and to take the initiative to raise awareness worldwide, expose these cases and the practices that target our students and academics, and hold the occupation authorities accountable at the international human rights court.mays1

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