Thanks to EPF PIN member Randy Heyn-Lamb for this update.
Last week we reported the release on bail of Layan Nasir, a Birzeit University student arrested in July for her alleged role in a student group banned by the Israeli Occupation Army. Layan’s story was published in Mondoweiss by her priest, Fr. Fadi Diab, at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. After a joyful welcome by friends at the checkpoint, Layan returned to her parents’ home. for additional celebrations with friends and family. Archbishop Theodosius (Atallah) Hanna of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, an outspoken critic of the Occupation and for Palestinian rights, also made a pastoral visit.
In addition to Layan, 2 other women, 28-year-old Ayat Mahfouz, and 25-year-old Anhar Al-Deek who were jailed on more serious charges of stabbing an Israeli soldier, were released from detention. Ms. Al-Deek, who is now under house arrest, had generated international attention as she is due to deliver her 2nd child at any time.
Four other young women, Amany Jaradat, Anagem Awad, Layan Kayed, and Ruba Asi, detained on charges similar to Layan Nasir’s, have all been tried and sentenced to prison terms of varying lengths. A fifth prisoner, Mona Qa’dan, remains in detention with an uncertain trial date.
Layan, who faces an October 5th trial date in an Israeli military court, used her temporary freedom to take to Facebook with a message of gratitude and challenge. “Thanks to everyone who stood in solidarity and defended the cause of our prisoners. Each of them has a message and each of them has a story”, she continued. “The world should not ignore the barbarity and arrogance of the occupation, and its practice of stripping and depriving female prisoners of their most basic rights.”
Reports from Middle East Eye indicate that the Israeli military rounded up 11 Palestinians, including 5 minors on unknown charges earlier this week.
Layan’s parents continue to call upon both local and international political and religious leaders to press Israeli authorities to unconditionally release Layan and the other young women detained for exercising their free speech and freedom of association rights guaranteed under international law. EPF PIN calls on all its friends and supporters to contact their own elected officials and religious leaders to advocate on behalf of Layan and the other prisoners.