Student Arrested for Incitement During Shireen Abu Akleh Vigil on Israeli Campus

Police maintain they have the right to make arrests on campus. Friends of jailed Bedouin student plan campaign 'to expose the university's policy of collaborating with security forces'

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Preparations for the event last week during which police apprehended a student, at Ben-Gurion University.
Preparations for the event last week during which police apprehended a student, at Ben-Gurion University.Credit: Wattan Madi

Plainclothes police officers arrested on Thursday a student at Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva over messages she posted on social media, accusing her of incitement.

Maryam Abu Qweder, a Bedouin from southern Israel, was apprehended during a demonstration in memory of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed in Jenin a day earlier while covering an Israeli military raid.

Abu Qweder was questioned last month by the Shin Bet security service over her social media activity. A judge who reviewed the case said she hasn't denied sharing the messages attributed to her.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev campus in Be’er Sheva.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Her lawyer, Shahda ibn Bari, said there was no need to apprehend her on campus, as she would have presented herself for questioning if police had asked her to.

Police maintained that they had the legal right to arrest people in an educational institution.

Upon her arrest, police said in a statement she was suspected of violating Israel's counter-terrorism law, but later accused her of other offenses: incitement to disobedience with intent to harm the state and incitement to insurrection.

A Be'er Sheva court ordered her release to house arrest on Friday, but police appealed the decision, which was then overturned by a higher court. Abu Qweder's detention was eventually extended until Monday.

She shared a post showing the will of an Islamic Jihad militant, along with heart emojis, as well as a message that appears to celebrate a recent attack in central Israel that killed three people, according to Be’er Sheva District Court Judge Daniel Ben-Tolila.

The judge also noted that she posted a video of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, in which he called on Palestinians to arm themselves with axes.

A fellow student at Ben-Gurion University said a group of Abu Qweder's friends were planning a campaign protesting her arrest. Their aim, the student said, is "to expose the university's policy of collaborating with security forces. The university acts like a rubber stamp for police and Shin Bet."

The university said in response that police "operated on its own accord, and did not coordinate its activity with the university."

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