On 26 August 2021, Layan Nasir, a 21-year-old fourth-year student studying Nutrition at Birzeit University, was released on bail of 24,000 Shekels (approx. US$ 7,500) by Ofer Military Court of Appeal. Layan’s upcoming hearing is scheduled for 5 October 2021, where she faces military trial before Ofer Military Court on charges targetting her alleged role and activities in the Democratic Progressive Student Pole (DPSP), a Palestinian left-bloc student organization deemed unlawful under an Israeli military order issued in August 2020. The military order reflects one of the over 1800 military orders issued by the Israeli occupation regime since its establishment, which seek to criminalize many aspects of Palestinians’ daily lives, including the majority of student unions and political parties.
Following the military prosecutor’s submission of a list of charges against Layan, Addameer’s lawyer Adv. Bilal Na’amneh requested her release on bail on 17 August 2021. However, Ofer Military Court denied Layan’s release on bail as the Israeli military prosecutor alleged that she poses a “threat to the security of the State of Israel” and demanded that she remain detained until the end of legal procedures. This policy is widely used by Israeli military courts, who rarely release Palestinians, especially students, on bail during trial to deter other youth and crush Palestinian resistance. Notwithstanding, Adv. Bilal appealed the decision as an alternative to detention, arguing that her past release following interrogation for similar alleged activities in January 2021—for which she faced no arrest—clearly refutes any security-based justification. Subsequently, Ofer Military Court of Appeal confirmed Layan’s release on bail.
Layan Nasir was arrested on 7 July 2021, during which the Israeli Occupation Forces stormed her home in the occupied West Bank town of Birzeit; she was handcuffed, blinded, and transported to Ofer military camp for interrogation. On 14 July 2021, the Israeli military prosecutor submitted a list of charges against Layan; a few days later, she was transferred to Damon Prison. Palestinian women prisoners held in Damon Prison have reported being subjected to harsh living conditions that do not align with the bare minimum of adequate living standards. Furthermore, Damon Prison is located outside the 1967 occupied territory, violating Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that an Occupying Power must detain residents of the occupied territory in prisons inside the occupied territory.
In Palestinian society, youth and student unions have mobilized popular resistance and transnational solidarity against Israel’s apartheid regime and towards social change. The targeting and criminalization of student organizations by alleging their affiliation to “terrorist” entities violates the right of Palestinian youth to freedom of association, expression, and to form student unions.