Birzeit Student Councilor abducted
- Head of Birzeit Student Council is arrested
Right to Education Campaign, R2E
26 November 2007
On Sunday 25 November 2007, Israeli military Special Forces abducted
Fadi Hamad, the head of the Birzeit University Student Council.
The incident occurred on the road linking the al Jalazoon camp with
the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Eyewitnesses report that a car
carrying Fadi was ambushed on the road between Ramallah and Jalazone
refugee camp. He was then taken to Ofer prison where he is being held
without physical access to legal counsel.
Unlike other prisons, Ofer does not automatically permit legal visits.
The Right to Education Campaign's lawyer has to fax a request to the
prison which on average takes 8 days to be processed, for each
prisoner he needs to visit.
Israeli military law also allows the army 8 days of questioning and
investigation before the case is heard by a military court judge.
On Sunday 2 December, Fadi will be taken to a military court where he
may be charged, released or held indefinitely without charge under the
system of 'administrative detention'.
Administrative detention is a system of incarceration without charge
that is sanctioned by a military court judge every 6 months. It is
granted on the grounds that the judge has seen 'secret evidence' -
often provided by intelligence officers and not disclosed to the
detainee's legal counsel which justifies further incarceration in
order to give the Israeli army has more time to find evidence and
bring forth a case.
This is most commonly used as a way to punish political activism and
the majority of cases never end up in court. In one case, a former
Birzeit student prisoner was offered exile in exchange for his early
release on condition that he did not return to the country for two
years. This was effectively an attempt by the Israeli army to extend
his exclusion from society, for after he refused the offer, he was
released by the judge without charge. He had been in administrative
detention for over 1.5 years.
Currently, there are 14 Birzeit students in administrative detention,
the longest being in prison for over 2.5 years.
Also last week, on Saturday 24 November, the Birzeit student Fathi
Saadeh was arrested at Atara checkpoint between the towns of Birzeit
and Nablus. He has since been released without charge. It is believed
that his and Fadi's arrests are part of a crack-down against student
members of political parties.
Right to Education Campaign
PO Box. 14
"Education is both a human right in itself and an indispensable means
of realizing other human rights " - UNESCO, Committee on
implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
"The Separation Wall doesn't only separate the West Bank
geographically, it also separates us socially and culturally and we
need to resist that through education." - Fourth-year student at
Birzeit University, from Qalqilia.
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