Palestinian student seized by occupation forces; PLC member’s detention extended as poet faces another hearing

Palestinian student Istabraq Yahya Tamimi was seized by Israeli occupation forces in the pre-dawn hours on Monday, 20 March, after they invaded her student housing in Bir Zeit. Tamimi is a member of the univeristy’s student council. She was among eight Palestinians arrested by Israeli occupation forces in the early hours of 20 March.

She joins approximately 60 Palestinian women prisoners held in Israeli jails, including 13 minor girls. Among them is Fatima Jibreen Taqatqa, 16, from Beit Fajjar near Bethlehem, who is currently held in the Shaare Tzedek hospital in serious condition. She was shot by Israeli occupation forces on Thursday, 16 March as she drove in her parents’ car, accused of attempting to run over a group of Israeli occupation soldiers by the road. Her detention was extended for eight days on Saturday 18 March in absentia; Fatima is held in the hospital. Fatima’s family urged international institutions to investigate the case and support their daughter.

Palestinian Legislative Council member Samira Halaiqa, 53, from al-Khalil, had her detention extended once more until 21 March, on allegations of “incitement” on social media. She is one of 10 PLC members currently imprisoned by the Israeli occupation; her computer and mobile phones were also confiscated by Israeli occupation forces.

Meanwhile, Souad Shyoukhi, 30, the sister of Ali Shyoukhi, 20, killed by Israeli occupation forces in October 2016, was released after a week of interrogation in the Moskobiyeh interrogation center in Jerusalem. She had been seized by occupation forces on 9 March after they invaded her home after midnight. Her family has been attacked repeatedly by occupation forces since the killing of Ali; Rawan Shyoukhi, 21, the sister of Souad and Ali, is held in house arrest for a six-month period after accusations of “incitement” on social media. Mohammed Shyoukhi, 20, Ali’s twin brother, is serving a 10-month prison sentence for “incitement” for posting on social media after his brother was shot dead by Israeli occupation forces.  Also released was Haifa Abu Sbeih, 38, from the town of Surif in al-Khalil after completing a 15-month sentence in Israeli prison. The mother of six, she runs a private elementary school in al-Khalil and is president of the Workers’ Kindergartens and a member of the executive committee of the Center for Democracy in Ramallah.

Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, 34, had another hearing on Sunday, 19 March in the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court. A Palestinian citizen of Israel, she is accused of “incitement” for posting her poetry on YouTube and social media; she was imprisoned for three months and held for eight months more under severe house arrest away from her home village of Reineh. The restrictions on Tatour were only loosened somewhat after a growing international campaign by highly prominent artists and writers around the world; PEN international has also taken up her case. Tatour still remains threatened with eight years in prison for her artistic expression. Two defense experts, Prof. Nissim Calderon and Dr. Yoni Mendel, testified at the 19 March hearing. The next hearing in her case will take place on 28 March, and a ruling may be expected in three months.