SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: December 12, 2019

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Birzeit University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Palestine (OPT)

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On December 12, 2019, Israeli military authorities arrested Shatha Hasan, the president of Birzeit University’s student council. A military court later sentenced Hasan to three months imprisonment without charge.

Shatha Hasan is a student of psychology at Birzeit University. On December 12, Israeli soldiers reportedly raided Hasan’s home in Ramallah and arrested her in front of her family. On the same day, the Israeli military reportedly set up a checkpoint on one of the main roads leading to Birzeit University’s campus to check the identities of students.

On December 17, an Israeli military court sentenced Hasan to three months imprisonment on an “administrative detention” order, a procedure that allows for the incarceration of an individual without trial or charge, based on undisclosed evidence that they intended to commit a crime.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the apparently arbitrary detention and incarceration of a student by state military authorities. Arbitrary arrests and imprisonments without particularized and reasonable suspicion may violate recognized human rights standards and international humanitarian law. Such incidents undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.

UPDATE: On June 2, 2021, TRT World News reported that Hasan, along with Palestinian student activists Ruba Assi (see report) and Layan Kayed (see report), was sentenced to serve between 14-21 months in prison by an Israeli military court.