Military Court Sentences Leftist Palestinian Lawmaker Khalida Jarrar to 15-months in Prison

An Israeli military court in the West Bank sentenced Palestinian legislator Khalida Jarrar to 15 months in prison on Monday, December 7, following the conclusion of a plea bargain between the military prosecutor and her defense lawyers. Jarrar, who was charged with “security-related offenses,” also received a 10-month suspended sentence and was fined 10,000 shekels ($2,600).

MK Aida Touma-Sliman and MP Khalida Jarrar

MK Aida Touma-Sliman and MP Khalida Jarrar (Photo: Al Ittihad)

The plea bargain amended Jarrar’s indictment after the accused agreed to plead guilty to two counts: belonging to an illegal organization and incitement. Jarrar is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The military court indicated that Jarrar was not convicted for being a member of the Palestinian parliament but rather for her activity as a member of the PFLP.

Jarrar’s attorney, Mahmoud Hassan from the “Adamir” Legal Center, said that his client agreed to accept the plea bargain only because she doesn’t trust the court. “She doesn’t expect [to receive] any justice from the court of the occupation, especially when the prosecution says that she will be held under an administrative detention order should the court order her release,” he said.

Jarrar, a mother of two, was arrested in her West Bank home on April 2 of this year, in what her husband said was a pre-dawn raid by dozens of masked Israeli soldiers who climbed over courtyard walls and broke down the door of their home.

Communist member of Knesset and head of the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash-Joint List) responded to Jarrar’s sentence, saying that the decision of the “occupation authorities to imprison a member of parliament for her political positions after eight months of administrative detention, proves that the government of Israel is seeking to inflame the situation. This government has nothing to offer but instilling fear in Israelis and oppressing and dispossessing Palestinians.” Touma-Sliman continued: “My friend Khalida Jarrar is a woman who struggles for peace, for the legitimate rights of her people who are living under occupation, for justice, democracy, and equality for women in her society. Her place is not in prison; it is in the parliament.”

Issa Qaraqe, the Palestinian minister for prisoner affairs, also condemned the trial, calling it “arbitrary and legally unjustified.” “This is a political arrest. The charges against her are fabricated and ridiculous… there are no security violations as was claimed by the Israeli authorities,” Qaraqe said.