Posted on May 13, 2024

UK Revokes Visa of Law Student Who Addressed Pro-Palestine Protest

Al Jazeera, May 10, 2024

The United Kingdom has revoked the visa of a Palestinian student after she participated in a pro-Palestine demonstration at her university.

Dana Abuqamar told Al Jazeera that the Home Office withdrew her visa casting her as a “national security” threat, following remarks she made at the protest last year.

“During this genocide, the UK Home Office decided to revoke my student visa following public statements supporting the Palestinian right to exercise under international law to resist oppression and break through the siege that was illegally placed on Gaza for over 16 years,” said Abuqamar, who leads the Friends of Palestine society at the University of Manchester.

“Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right, but it seems to not apply to ethnic minorities, particularly Muslims and Palestinians like myself.”

Last year, the 19-year-old law student revealed that she had lost 15 family members during Israel’s war on Gaza.

Abuqamar, who is in her final year of study, spoke of a sense of “pride” at a pro-Palestine event last year, following Hamas’s October 7 attacks in Israel.

“We are really full of joy at what happened,” she said.

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A Home Office spokesperson told Al Jazeera in a statement that it does not comment on individual cases.

They added, however, that permission to stay could be revoked in “instances where people have engaged in unacceptable or extremist behaviour, such as activity that fosters hatred, which may lead to inter-community violence, or where the person is associated or has been associated with people involved in terrorism”.

In recent weeks, activists across British universities have joined the global student-led movement calling for an end to the war from their campuses.

But the encampments, where calls are centred on universities divesting from companies aiding Israel’s war efforts, are drawing criticism from officials and some Jewish groups on allegations of anti-Semitic abuse at protests.

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