Bethlehem University student Berlanty Azzam finally graduated with a bachelor degree in business administration in January, 75 days after being blindfolded, handcuffed and taken from Bethlehem to Gaza.
But instead of graduating with her fellow students, Berlanty was presented with her certificate during Mass at Holy Family Church in Gaza amid family and friends.
Vice-chancellor of the university, Br Peter Bray, said the university had ‘a commitment to help Berlanty to graduate and to succeed in life’.
The Israeli human rights legal group Gisha took on Berlanty’s case, seeking a ruling from the Israeli High Court to overturn the Israeli army’s decision to not allow Berlanty the right to return to Bethlehem for the final two months needed to complete her bachelors degree. All attempts to seek justice, however, resulted in the Israeli High Court refusing to instruct the army to allow Berlanty to return to the West Bank.
Noting that the 22-year old female student had no security or other charges against her and that she had been living in Bethlehem and dutifully pursuing her education at Bethlehem University for nearly four years without incident, dismay was expressed by many, including the Gisha lawyers who brought her case to the Israeli High Court.
See also Israel’s High Court rules against illegally detained Gaza student www.welcom.org.nz/?sid=1190