Israel extends detention of Palestinian Christian woman held without charges

Israel extends detention of Palestinian Christian woman held without charges
Israeli forces arrested 23-year-old Layan Nasir at gunpoint from her parents’ home, despite there being no arrest warrant or charges against her.
3 min read
16 April, 2024
Layann Nasir has been forced to serve administrative detention after she was detained from her home earlier this month [Getty]

A 23-year-old Palestinian Christian woman has been ordered to serve four months of administrative detention by Israel after she was detained from her home last week.

Layan Nasir was taken away at gunpoint from her family home in the occupied West Bank town of Birzeit with no arrest warrant or charges against her.

Reverend Munther Isaac, who has been outspoken about Israeli assaults and the bombardment of Gaza since the start of the war, announced that Nasir was being held in administrative detention on Monday.

He said that her detention was renewable and that she was just one of thousands of Palestinians who were in detention with no charges against them.

"I have spoken to Layan’s family this morning to console them. Please pray for Layan and Layan’s family. Please pray for justice," he said in a post on X.

Nasir was arrested on 9 April, when her mother described opening the door to see 15 soldiers enter and put guns to her face.

Nasir’s father was also held at gunpoint before soldiers searched the house, blindfolded and handcuffed Layan and took her away.

The following day, she was only allowed to speak to her lawyer for one minute, during which she said she was being held in Ofer prison but would be moved soon.

Nasir’s lawyers believe she is currently in Damon prison, a jail for Palestinian women held in Israel.

Israel’s military said that she was arrested "in light of intelligence information which indicated that she poses a threat to the security of the area".

Administrative detention often allows for pre-emptive arrest, based on secret evidence, and can be extended indefinitely without charge or trial.

According to the Jerusalem-based non-profit organisation B’Tselem, Israeli forces often arrest people because they plan to break the law in the future.

As administrative detention is preventative, it has no time limit and the person can be detained without legal proceedings or evidence revealed to them.

The Archbishop of Canterbury appealed for Nasir’s release, expressing concern over her arrest.

The dean of St George’s College in Jerusalem, Richard Sewell, echoed the sentiment, saying it was shocking and that her family don’t know where she is being held.

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Nasir was previously arrested in 2021 during the time she was studying nutrition and dietetics at Birzeit University. The raid on her family home at the time involved seven soldiers and 12 military vehicles.

At the time she was charged with belonging to a leftwing students union at her university, which has been criminalised by Israel.

By the end of September, the Israeli Prison Service was holding 1,310 Palestinians in administrative detention.

Israel has carried out mass arrests of Palestinians since 7 October, with prison conditions also deteriorating significantly.