MP Khalida Jarrar Sentenced to 6 Months Administrative Detention

An Israeli military court sentenced Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Khalida Jarrar to six months of administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial – on Wednesday, July 12, after the civil society leader was arrested at her home during a predawn Israeli raid on July 2.

Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar

Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar (Photo: Addameer)

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, a confirmation hearing was held on Monday, July 17, at Israel’s Ofer Military Court in the central occupied West Bank to confirm the administrative detention sentence.

Israeli forces detained Jarrar, a long-serving PLC member from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), on July 2 after raiding her home in Ramallah, 13 months after she had been released from Israeli prison, where she was incarcerated for more than a year, one month of which was under administrative detention.

Following her prior arrest in 2015, Jarrar was initially sentenced to six months of administrative detention, but international pressure forced Israeli authorities to bring charges against her, all 12 of which focused on her political activism.

Jarrar was charged with security-related offenses related to her membership and activities with the PFLP – the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. At the time, Jarrar accused the Israeli military prosecution of working to keep her in prison as long as possible, adding that she “did not expect anything from military courts. They are a joke, it’s like a big theater, I do not trust them and my detention has been political since the beginning.”

Jarrar also said that she refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the court, stating that all charges pressed against her were “ridiculous” and related to completely legal activities, including social and political work as a member of the Palestinian parliament.

Jarrar is also the head of the Prisoners’ Commission in the PLC, and vice-chairperson of the board of directors of Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer which issued a statement following her detention saying: “The arrest of Khalida Jarrar constitutes an attack against Palestinian political leaders and Palestinian civil society as a whole. It also constitutes one arrest in the context of continuous arrest campaigns against Palestinians.”

On the same predawn July morning that Israeli forces took Jarrar into custody, Khitam al-Saafin, the chairwoman of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committee, was also detained in the village of Beituniya in the central occupied West Bank. On Sunday, July 16, Israeli authorities sentenced al-Saafin to three months of administrative detention. At the time of her arrest, the Israeli army admitted that al-Saafin was also being detained due to her leading role in the PFLP.

“We protest the arrest of Palestinian lawmakers and women activists, as well as the ongoing detention of Palestinian political and civil society leaders,” Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi said, adding that “clearly, this political arrest is further proof that the judicial system in Israel has no relation to justice.”

According to Addameer, as of May 2017 there were 6,200 Palestinians in Israeli prisons including 56 women, with 490 being held in administrative detention. Israel uses administrative detention almost exclusively against Palestinians. The widely condemned Israeli policy allows a detainee to be sentenced for up to six months of incarceration based solely on allegations, the evidence of which authorities are not obliged to disclose. At the conclusion of a prisoner’s administrative detention term, the order can renewed for an indefinite number of times.

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