University community bolsters resilience in visit to detained students’ families
“The Israeli detention and harassment of our students and faculty members are flagrant violations of basic human rights, especially the right to education and the freedom of speech and assembly,” said Anan Atteereh, the acting dean of student affairs at Birzeit University, as she wrapped up a visit by university staff to the homes of Layan Nasir and Ruba Assi, two Birzeit University students detained by the Israeli Occupation for three months and 14 months, respectively.
The visit is part of a program launched by the Deanship of Student Affairs to support students imprisoned by Israeli authorities and their families and provide them with the needed legal aid and assistance.
The university team, comprising Atteereh; Gadah Alomare; Samia Hawamda; Fadi Azzam; and Eyad Jadallah, had originally planned to visit the families of Layan Nasir and Ruba Assi, but with Layan’s release on bail late Thursday, the visit turned into a celebration, with the team checking up on her and discussing the situation of the other 80 students still detained in Israeli prisons.
During the visits, Atteereh reaffirmed Birzeit University’s commitment to its students, saying that the university, in all of its constituents, will work with local and international parties to secure the release of members of Birzeit University held in Israeli prisons and detention centers.
“Since the Israeli Occupation’s authorities will not allow us to visit our students in jails or detention and interrogation centers, we’ve decided to connect with them through their parents, providing them with all the support and legal aid we can give,” said Atteereh, adding that the university is working with lawyers to follow up on the students’ cases and trials.
The visits will continue in the coming days and weeks, Atteereh added, as the university’s community comes together to support detained students and their families and uphold the values of democracy and pluralism and freedom of thought and expression that underpin Birzeit University’s missions.
“We’re always worried about our students and the difficult conditions they’re held in,” said Atteereh, “but for now, we’re happy that Layan was released, and we wish for the immediate release of all Palestinians imprisoned, unjustly and wantonly, by the Israeli Occupation.”