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: June 25, 2022

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Palestine Polytechnic University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Palestine (OPT)

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On June 25, 2022, Palestinian Authority security forces detained four Palestine Polytechnic University students affiliated with the Hamas-affiliated Islamic bloc.

The four students, Ibrahim Al-Nawaja, Thaer Oweidat, Abdullah Halayqa, and Baha Al-Mahariq, are active in the university’s student government. Ibrahim Al-Nawaja serves as the coordinator of the Islamic bloc at the university. The students’ arrest comes at a time of escalating political detentions at Palestinian universities.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the detention of students, apparently for their political affiliation and exercise of the right to freedoms of expression and association – conduct which is expressly protected by international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Palestine is party. Authorities have an obligation to refrain from taking action to restrict or punish expressive and political activity, so long as it is peaceful and responsible. In addition to harm to the immediate victims, the intimidation, detention, and assault of students undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.