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UK revokes visa of student after attending Palestine demo

There are fears Palestinian students in the UK could be targeted for deportation due to their stances against Israel’s assault on Gaza [Getty]

The UK government this week has revoked the student visa of a Palestinian student following her participation in a peaceful pro-Palestine demonstration at the University of Manchester.

Dana Abuqamar, who leads the Friends of Palestine Society at her university, said the UK government rescinded her visa citing “national security” and labelled her a public safety risk.

“The claim they are making is baseless and violates my rights as a resident here in the UK. My legal team has lodged a human rights appeal against this decision to revoke my student visa in my last and final year as a law student,” Abuqamar told Al Jazeera on Friday.

In October last year, 15 members of the 19-year-old law student’s family were killed during Israel’s war on Gaza.

“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,” Abuqamar said.

Her visa revocation raises serious questions about the UK’s impartiality and commitment to freedom of speech, with her arguing that none of her behaviour conceivably poses a threat to public order.

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

“We must reject the double standard in the application of human rights by public authorities and rise against this oppression.”

Abuqamar faced criticism for comments she made last year that were perceived by some as glorifying the Hamas-led attack on 7 October. At a pro-Palestine rally, she stated, “We are full of pride, we are really full of joy at what has happened.”

However, Abuqamar later clarified to the BBC that her comments were taken out of context, stating, “The death of any innocent civilian should not be condoned ever”.

Earlier this year, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced plans to crack down on pro-Palestinian protesters, including the government’s intention to revoke the visas of those who “spew hate”.

Critics fear that the current UK government, a staunch ally of Israel, equates hate and threats to national security with criticism of Israel and support for Palestinian causes

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