Palestinian police detain student over Facebook post

Palestinian police detain student over Facebook post
A Palestinian student has been arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces over a Facebook post, as authorities continue to crack down on student activists ahead of university elections.
2 min read
18 May, 2016
The arrest comes amid a crackdown on student dissidents ahead of student elections [Facebook]
The Palestinian Authority [PA] police have arrested a student activist over a Facebook post critical of authorities, amid an ongoing crackdown on freedom of speech in the West Bank.

Kifah Quzmar was picked up by plainclothes police officers last Wednesday while he was on his way home from university in Ramallah, after calling the PA "corrupt" in a post he made last month.

The next day the 26-year-old's detention was extended for 15 days for questioning and investigation. This week, Quzmar's family submitted a request for his release, which was rejected on Tuesday.

"Do you guys know why the intelligence services are a corrupt agency? Because the whole PA is corrupt. Seif al-Idrissi has been arrested," Quzmar said on Facebook.

Idrissi is a friend of Quzmar and fellow activist, who was also recently arrested by PA security forces.

Quzmar's family spoke to The New Arab about the arrest.

"Kifah has been harassed continuously by authorities over the past four years for similar comments he has made. He is just one of many who are in the same situation," they said.

"On Wednesday, we submitted a new request for his release after the first was refused. This means he will be held for 15 days, which then could be renewed to another 90 days."

The arrest comes as the PA ramps up a crackdown on student dissidents ahead of this year's Birzeit University student elections, widely seen as a reliable reflection of the Palestinian political mood in the absence of regular general elections.

The Fatah movement, which dominates the West Bank-based PA, has lost the student elections for the last two years running to rival Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP], a far-left political party, has demanded authorities release Quzmar and end the ongoing crackdown on students.

"[The PFLP] calls for addressing the policy of the attacks on students by PA security services which have escalated in recent weeks amid campus elections," the group said in a statement.

"This method of police repression against Palestinian students not only widens Palestinian internal division but also endangers the lives of students," it added.