Youth groups demand release of Italian-Palestinian researcher Khaled El Qaisi who was detained by Israel

Khaled El Qaisi was detained by Israeli authorities on August 31 while he was on a family trip to Bethlehem. On September 14, an Israeli court extended his detention over alleged concerns of national security

September 18, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Free Khaled - Italy Israel
Khaled El Qaisi. (Photo: via Collectif Palestine Vaincra)

Youth and student groups in Italy have protested the detention of Italian-Palestinian student Khaled El Qaisi by Israeli authorities. On Friday, September 15, youth groups including the Communist Youth Front (FGC), along with students, teachers, and activists from human rights and Palestine solidarity groups, organized an event at the Sapienza University of Rome demanding Khaled’s release. The participants condemned his detention since August 31 without any charges and called on Italian and Israeli authorities to ensure his immediate and safe release from custody.

Khaled is a researcher and student of the Department of Oriental Languages and Civilizations at the Sapienza University of Rome. He is the founder of the Palestinian Documentation Center and an activist of the Giovani Palestinesi d’Italia (Palestinian Youth of Italy) group. 

According to reports, Khaled was on a trip with wife and child to Bethlehem last month to register their marriage and the birth of their child with the Palestinian Authority registry office, to obtain the right to family reunification. While returning, the Israeli military arrested him from the Allenby Bridge checkpoint at the Jordanian border and he was detained at the Ashkelon prison center. On September 14, an Israeli court extended his detention over alleged concerns of national security. 

Youth and student groups in Italy have expressed their anger at the continuing human rights abuse perpetrated by the Israeli forces, as well as the lackadaisical attitude of the Italian authorities in demanding Khaled’s immediate release. 

On September 15, the Communist Youth Front (FGC) noted that Khaled is still being detained without any charges and is being subjected to continuous questioning even after two weeks, during which he was prevented from contacting a lawyer. During his detention, his wife was asked questions about his political orientation. “For this reason, the behavior of the Italian institutions is even more unacceptable, given the case of a young Italian citizen who is at serious risk as a political prisoner in Israel, just like more than 4900 other Palestinians are today,” FGC said.

“The hypocrisy shown to date by Italian authorities and institutions demonstrates the enormous tolerance that, for reasons of economic interest and international politics, is guaranteed by European governments to the State of Israel, which is celebrated arbitrarily as ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’, while imposing an apartheid regime made of political prisoners, torture, murder and even child trials in military courts,” the group added.

In a statement on September 7, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network also called for his immediate release.