On 7 June 2023, the Israeli occupation army seized Palestinian student Layan Kayed from her home in the West Bank of occupied Palestine, also seizing her computer and mobile phone. Layan Kayed, a masters’ student at Birzeit University, is also the coordinator of Adala, the Palestinian Coalition for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. On 15 June, the occupation military court extended her interrogation for eight more days, reported Addameer; she has been prevented from meeting with her lawyer since her arrest on 7 June.
Since she was seized from her home, she has been held at the Ofer interrogation center. Layan Kayed is a former political prisoner who was jailed for 16 months in the detention centers of the Zionist occupation in 2020 due to her involvement in Palestinian student organizing as an undergraduate Birzeit student.
In a message to her family during her previous detention, she said: “Our relationship with prison is that of a constant attempt to tame us and alienate us.” The arrest of Layan Kayed is part and parcel of the organized campaign of criminalization of student organizing in Palestine, including arrests of students and military invasions onto university campuses. Such arrests, which affect hundreds of Palestinian youth and students, are a futile attempt to break the ongoing support for Palestinian resistance and the upsurge of youth that reject the notorious Oslo accords and the Palestinian Authority’s “security coordination” with the colonial occupation.
The sentiment among Palestinian youth and students that the occupation attempts to repress with such arrests has been demonstrated through multiple university elections this year, where the results have clearly reflected the popular sentiment in favor of resistance and in rejection of capitulation to the occupier.
Her arrest and the repeated extension of her interrogation also comes as over 1,083 administrative detainees jailed without charge or trial prepare for an open hunger strike beginning on 18 June to challenge the policy of administrative detention, originally begun by the British colonial mandate in Palestine and adopted by the Zionist project as a key tool of repression against Palestinians.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network demands the immediate release of Layan Kayed, her fellow detained students, and all 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation jails. We urge all student organizations and movements to stand in solidarity with Layan and all detained Palestinian students by escalating the boycott and isolation of the Israeli occupation regime, particularly the academic boycott. We urge all to join the campaign to #FreePalestinianStudents and build international solidarity with Palestinian students — and the Palestinian people as a whole — in the struggle for liberation from colonization, apartheid and occupation!