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World News

Archbishop 'deeply concerned' over arrest of Christian woman in West Bank

by Donna Birrell

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he is "deeply concerned" over the arrest of a young Palestinian Christian woman in the West Bank.

24-year-old Layan Nasir was taken from her home by soldiers earlier this month and is now facing detention for four months without charge.

Most Rev Justin Welby told Sky News her plight is a breach of assurances made by Israel about the treatment of Christians in the region.

"[I am] deeply concerned to learn that she is now facing administrative detention for four months, without charge and with no due process for her, her family or lawyers to challenge this.

"Such processes against what is already a deeply threatened minority are contrary to commitments given over the years."

Nasir is thought to be the only Christian Palestinian woman being detained by Israel under the law of 'administrative detention'. That is when a person is held without trial and without having committed an offence on the grounds that they plan to break the law in the future. It was introduced during the British Mandate of 1945 and amended in 1979.

Fr Fadi Diab, who is rector of St Andrew's Ramallah and also Layan Nasir's parish priest, told Premier Christian News no one knows why she has been arrested. 

"This is the one million dollar question. There was no explanation for the invading of her home. Her parents were not given any explanation and until now, we don't know why they have taken her."

Layan Nasir was also arrested in 2021 and detained for a month without any explanation while she was a university student. However, Fr Fadi doesn't believe her Christian faith is a reason for her detention.

Under administrative detention, people can be held for four months and which can be renewed every four months for up to two years.

Fr Fadi believes it is a sad indictment: "I think the British need to repent for that and pressure the Israelis, because administrative detention in particular is against international law. The British government should pressure the Israeli government to stop its administrative detention procedures against the Palestinians. We also need to pray for Layan and the other more than 10,000 Palestinians who are now in jail, whether sentenced, indicted or administered detention. We need to pray for all these prisoners because they are prisoners of freedom. They trying to fight for their freedom of self- determination."

 

The number of Palestinians being held in administrative detention has almost tripled since 7th October to more than 3,500.

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