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@sgcjerusalem (X)
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World News

'Armed soldiers cuffed and blindfolded her': Archbishop of Canterbury calls for release of Palestinian Christian woman arrested by Israeli forces

by Lydia Davies

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has expressed his profound shock and concern over the arrest of a young Palestinian Christian woman by Israeli forces in the West Bank.

The woman, identified as Layan Nasir, aged 23, is a member of the Anglican Church in Birzeit, located within the Occupied West Bank, alongside the Gaza Strip.

Welby shared on X a photo of the girl and wrote, “I’m shocked and deeply concerned by this news. Together with our Palestinian Christian brothers and sisters, I pray for Layan and her family - and for the congregation of St Peter’s Anglican Church in the Occupied West Bank. Please pray for Layan’s safety and swift release.”

The circumstances surrounding her arrest have sparked widespread apprehension and calls for her immediate release.

Richard Sewell, Dean of St George's College, Jerusalem, also expressed his dismay on X: "Deeply disturbed and shocked that a member of our church in Birzeit in occupied West Bank has been arrested by Israeli forces." He highlighted Nasir's age and her academic pursuit in nutrition and dietetics at Birzeit University, emphasising the community's prayers for her and her family, who are distressed not knowing where their daughter is.

According to Sewell, This is not the first time Nasir has faced detention; she was previously arrested in July 2021 during a military raid involving seven soldiers and twelve military vehicles at her family home. She was held for six months before being released.

Sewell noted the distressing nature of both incidents in another post to X, saying: "Layan was detained for six months in 2001 and released. Now three years later, detained again. Armed soldiers cuffed and blindfolded her. Whereabouts still unknown."

According to Al Jazeera, the number of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons has doubled since last October to more than 10,000. Many are held under 'administrative detention,' without any formal charges against them.

Reports from Defence for Children International indicate that grim prison conditions persist, with Israel detaining between 500 - 700 children annually, some as young as twelve.

The international community has expressed great concern over these developments, calling on Israeli authorities to ensure fair treatment according to international law and human rights standards.


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