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“They will never kill our dreams”, say Jailed young women deprived of family and studying

Occupied West Bank (QNN)- In the Damon jail, located on Mount Carmel in occupied Haifa, very far away from their families and college, the Israeli authorities hold four students of Birzeit University among dozens of other female prisoners.

The four jailed students wrote a letter for their colleagues, marking International Women’s Day.

“On March 8th, we stand with you in your march towards justice and equality for all the world’s women”, the letter read.

“Either if we were inside or outside jails, our battles as students is one battle; a battle against sexism, class exploitation, and fascist colonialism, especially the occupation of our land”.

Layan: Arrested while on her way to graduation

On August 8th, 2020, Layan Kayed was heading to Birzeit University to get her graduation certificate, leaving her parents behind eagerly waiting to celebrate the day that they have waiting for years. However, an Israeli military checkpoint changed Layan’s destination to jail.

At the start, the Israeli army held Layan in Ha Sharon jail in horrible conditions, her father told QNN. She was jailed close to Israeli criminals, who verbally assaulted her the whole time.

During her two-day-long interrogation by the Shin Bet, Layan was knocked out and the interrogators started bullying her.

Although of her suffering, Layan “kept her spirit up”, according to her father. “We feel her resistance and resilience in the few letters that received from her, as most of them were confiscated by the Israeli jail administration”.

“Since the day of her arrest, we only got to visit her twice as the Israeli use COVID 19 as a justification. During court sessions, we were allowed to see her for a few minutes only on “video conference””.

He added that although of the Israeli obstacles, Layan and other prisoners opened a university education subsystem, a book club, and a sports club.

Shatha Taweel: Four months without visitation

For four months, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) has been preventing the family of Shatha Taweel from visiting her using COVID 19 as an excuse, according to her father.

He added that the family of Shata can see Shatha for few minutes only in the court. “In the latest court session, when I saw her, she was tied, which made me very concerned. I looked for any lawyer, who would soon visit the Damon jail and when he visited her he told me that she was tied because she was vaccinated”.

The Israeli army arrested Shatha after breaking into her family’s house in Bireh on November 2nd last year after taking the door off.

“After they took the door off, the soldiers asked us about our names then they took Shatha with them, which shocked us because being a girl and a student it was hard for us that he got arrested”, Shatha’s father said.

Shatha used to study in the computer department at Birzeit University. Her father stressed that arresting her would negatively affect her academic life.

‘Ilya Abu Hijleh: Delayed joys

In July 2020, an Israeli force broke into the house of ‘Ilya Abu Hijleh’s house in Tireh in Ramallah and arrested her.

‘Ilya was in the fourth year of college. The Israelis deprived her of enjoying her graduation year and delayed her long-waited graduation.

Her mother said the Israelis have been preventing them from visiting her since last November using COVID 19 as a justification. Her family could not even see her after sentencing her to 11 months.

Ruba Asi: Joy is born out of pain

After she was arrested on July 9th, Ruba Asi was assaulted by the Israeli soldiers, who broke into her family’s house in Ramallah.

Ruba told the Prisoners’ Affairs Committee that the soldiers blindfolded her with a face mask and put another face mask in her mouth before they forced her to squat the whole way while their weapons were hitting her.

When she arrived at a military camp, an Israeli female soldier violently dragged her while she was handcuffed, which caused her to bleed.

A few days before she was arrested, Ruba wrote: “Joy is born out of pain, and words are born out of silence”.

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