Berlanty Azzam was forcibly taken to Gaza by the Israeli military on October 28 because her address in the Israeli-controlled Population Registry is listed in Gaza. Berlanty had been living in the West Bank since she began her studies at Bethlehem University in 2005.
On November 12, a hearing was held by the Israeli high court and Brother Jack Curran of Bethlehem University summarizes the outcome as follows:
- The High Court criticized the Israeli military for its violation of due process procedures that resulted in our 21 year old student, Berlanty Azzam, being handcuffed, blindfolded, and removed by force from Bethlehem to Gaza on 28 October 2009.
- The High Court ordered the Israeli military to conduct an Administrative Hearing next week at which Berlanty and Yadin Elam, her attorney, must be present—so that Berlanty has the opportunity to challenge her removal from Bethlehem to Gaza.
- The High Court ordered the Israeli military to present the findings of their Administrative Hearing to the High Court before 22 November—when the Court will decide if there is a need for a further court hearing.
- The High Court rejected the State’s request to prevent Berlanty’s attorney, Yadin Elam, from being present at the Administrative Hearing.
- The High Court rejected Yadin Elam’s request to allow Berlanty to return to her studies at Bethlehem University while the legal matters are being sorted out.
- While the lawyers for the Israeli state and military claimed that Berlanty was in the West Bank “illegally”, Gisha lawyers claim that her passage to the West Bank was done legally via a permit from the military commander that had no conditions of limitations. Since the Israeli state could not produce any documented evidence about this matter, the High Court said that these matters appeared “to be foggy.”
Click here to read Brother Jack’s entire letter and how you can help.