Palestinian student leader, journalist has detention extended until 20 December

abusafiyaPalestinian student leader, journalist and media activist Ibrahim Abu Safiya, the coordinator of the Islamic Association at Bir Zeit University, once again had his imprisonment extended by Israeli occupation forces. The Ofer military court extended his detention until 20 December despite the appeals of his defense lawyers that there was no justification to extend his arrest.

Abu Safiya, 21, was seized by Israeli occupation forces on 28 September at Beit Ur checkpoint west of Ramallah. He is in his final year of study in the journalism faculty at Bir Zeit University and is highly active in unions and popular organizations of journalists. He also works as a freelance writer and researcher.

He is heavily involved in Bir Zeit student union activities, including the 28-day student strike against tuition increases on the campus, in which he engaged in a five-day hunger strike. Just days before his arrest, he spoke to the media about the success of the student campaign in preventing tuition hikes that make education inaccessible to Paletinian youth, and announcing the agreement to end the student strike. Abu Safiya had been one of the four student spokespeople and representatives during the anti-tuition-hike campaign.

Dozens of Palestinian journalists remain imprisoned by the Israeli occupation, including Omar Nazzal, member of the General Secretariat of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate and Hasan Safadi, media coordinator for Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. Abu Safiya’s arrest also points to the ongoing targeting of Palestinian student activists and organizers for involvement in student union activities, student protests and other student actions on campus. In another example, Palestinian student Awni Shakhshir, 26, from Nablus, was arrested on Sunday, 20 November as he passed through the Za’atara military checkpoint south of the city. Shakhshir is the coordinator of the Islamic Bloc of An-Najah University; he was seized and taken to an unknown location.