Palestinian legislator Khalida Jarrar, a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was released on Sunday, September 26, after serving two years in Israeli prison, more than half of that time under administrative detention. The latter procedure, primarily used by Israel with Palestinians political prisoners, allows occupation security forces to imprison suspects without filing charges for up to six months at a time, and with the ability to renew the administrative detention indefinitely.
Target of Repeated Political Repression by Israel
Jarrar had previously served 20 months under administrative detention following her arrest by occupation forces at the beginning of July 2017. She was released on February 28, 2019, only to be taken into custody again only half a year later, from which she was released this week.
During her latest incarceration, Jarrar was ultimately convicted in March 2021 for her membership in the PFLP, an illegal political organization under Israeli military law. As part of a plea bargain, she received a sentence of two years in jail and a fine, with most of her jail time already having been served under administrative detention prior to her trial. Israel’s military prosecutors said that not enough evidence had been found to convict Jarrar of her involvement in the PFLP’s armed activities.
Jarrar, a well-known campaigner on behalf of Palestinian prisoners, directed the NGO Addameer for Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights from 1994 to 2006 until her election to the Palestinian legislature as a representative from the PFLP. She has long been a well-known PFLP politician, focusing on women’s rights and the affairs of security prisoners in Israeli jails.
Bereaved Mother Forced to View Daughter’s Funeral on Television
Jarrar’s 31-year old daughter Suha died of cardiac arrest on July 12 of this year while her mother was in prison, leading many Palestinians and Israeli supporters to call for a furlough for the bereaved mother to allow her to attend Suha’s funeral. Israeli authorities refused this request. Rafael Gana, assistant to the commissioner of the Israel Prison Service (IPS) responded, “The prisoner is classified as a security prisoner; as such, her request doesn’t meet the prerequisites for consideration.” Joint List lawmakers Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash) and Osama Saadi (Ta’al) asked Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev (Labor) to intervene in the matter, but to no avail. Bar-Lev later parroted the IPS position, writing in Haaretz, “In light of the offenses for which the security prisoner is serving her sentence, her request does not meet the minimum requirements for its consideration, in accordance with Israel Prison Service regulations.”
On the day of Suha’s funeral Jarrar was only allowed to watch her daughter’s funeral on television.
“The denial of Khalida Jarrar’s release to mourn the sudden death of her daughter and participate in burial rights stands in stark violation of protected recognition of human dignity and family rights under international law,” Addameer said in a statement released at the time.
With her release from prison on Sunday of this week, looking back to July, Jarrar told reporters, “It was a hard moment. But I felt her spirit was accompanying me.”
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