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 29, 2022

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Hebron University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Palestine (OPT)

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On June 29, 2022, Palestinian Authority security forces detained Laith Halayka, a student leader at Hebron University, as he was leaving campus, reportedly due to his student union work.

Reports indicate that, on June 29, Palestinian Authority security forces in civilian clothes approached Laith Halayka, a fourth-year finance student at Hebron University who is active in student government, near the university. The security officers, who were reportedly armed, forcibly detained him in an unmarked car.

The student’s arrest comes at a time of escalating political detentions at Palestinian universities.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the detention of a student, apparently for his 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 a 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.