Israr Maarouf, 22, a law student at Bir Zeit University, was seized by Israeli occupation forces that invaded his family home in Ein Qinya near Ramallah, occupied Palestine, on 10 August 2021. He was detained only 70 days after his most recent release from Israeli imprisonment; the soldiers that abducted him from his home beat him all over his body with batons and rifle butts, leaving him with severe bruising all over his body. On Friday, 20 August, the Israeli occupation military courts ordered him detained without charge or trial under administrative detention.
Even before his most recent arrest, Maarouf, who is diabetic, suffered from severe knee and back pain. When Maarouf was detained in 2019, he was subjected to torture and severe abuse during 70 days of interrogation. He was deliberately and systematically deprived of sleep, interrogated most of the day and then interrupted with loud music. He was threatened with the arrest of his family and forced into stress positions during his interrogation, forcing him to fall to the ground. He fainted several times while under interrogation due to the extreme pain he was in and was forced to use a wheelchair for several days during his interrogation because he was unable to walk due to his injuries from torture.
Administrative detention was first used in Palestine by the British colonial mandate and then adopted by the Zionist regime; it is now used routinely to target Palestinians, especially community leaders, activists, and influential people in their towns, camps and villages.
There are currently approximately 550 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention, out of 4,750 Palestinian political prisoners. These orders are issued by the military and approved by military courts on the basis of “secret evidence”, denied to both Palestinian detainees and their attorneys. Issued for up to six months at a time, they are indefinitely renewable, and Palestinians — including minor children — can spend years jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention.
Dozens of Palestinian prisoners have launched hunger strikes — including nine currently continuing their strikes — against administrative detention in 2021.
Israr Maarouf is also among hundreds of Palestinian students imprisoned by the Israeli occupation. At Bir Zeit University alone, approximately 74 students were detained by occupation soldiers during the 2019-2020 academic year. The work of student organizing, from holding book fairs to organizing events and participating in student elections, is criminalized by the Israeli occupation. Still more students are detained for joining demonstrations or posting on their social media profiles.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network demands the immediate release of Israr Maarouf and all detained Palestinian students and urges all friends of justice in Palestine to join the #FreePalestinianStudents campaign. This campaign brings organizations together in a global call to urge the immediate freedom of imprisoned Palestinian students and the protection of Palestinian students’ right to education, right to political expression and involvement and right to determine their own futures. The Israeli occupation has targeted Palestinian students and, specifically, the Palestinian student movement and Palestinian student organizations for harsh repression and political detention and imprisonment.
We join together to call for action and support for Palestinian students behind bars, including:
- Boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, including Israeli academic institutions, which are fully complicit in the systematic deprivation of Palestinian rights.
- Ending all military and economic aid, military transactions, joint projects and direct funding to the Israeli occupation regime by governments around the world.
- Challenging “normalization” programs that aim to legitimize Israeli occupation — this is an attempt to legitimize the criminalization and targeting of Palestinian students.
- Organizing to build direct links of solidarity with Palestinian students and the Palestinian student movement, to ensure that they will not be isolated from their global community of support despite all attempts by the Israeli occupation.
For the full campaign statement, resources, posters, photos and more, including translations in eight languages, please visit: https://freepalestinianstudents.org/
Add your organization’s name to this statement: http://bit.ly/palstudentsignon