Israel releases Palestinian lawmaker held for nearly two years without trial

Israeli authorities have released Khalida Jarrar, a prominent Palestinian legislator and a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), who was held without trial for 20 months under the practice of administrative detention.

Jarrar, a 56-year-old member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was released near the Salem military checkpoint, west of the northern occupied West Bank city of Jenin, on Thursday morning.

Her lawyer said that he and Jarrar’s family had been told in advance that the administrative detention would not be renewed against the Palestinian lawmaker unless significant new information was received.

Jarrar, a staunch advocate of Palestinian prisoners’ rights, said after her release that she would continue to campaign for the release of all Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons and detention centers.

Khalida Jarrar, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), (C-R) hugs a supporter following her release from an Israeli jail in Nablus, the occupied West Bank, on February 28, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

The Arabic-language Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported on October 25 last year that Israeli officials had extended the detention without trial of Jarrar for the fourth time in a row.

The Palestinian lawmaker has been jailed multiple times.

She was last arrested in July 2017, when a large number of Israeli troopers raided her home in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem al-Quds. Her husband, Ghassan, said Israeli forces also seized her computers during the raid.

Israel’s internal spy agency, Shin Bet, later announced in a statement that Jarrar was arrested along with a Palestinian activist for “promoting terror activities,” without providing any further information.

Jarrar is one of the most outspoken critics of the Israeli occupation and has repeatedly slammed the Tel Aviv regime’s atrocities against Palestinians.

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The Israeli regime has been denying the lawmaker the right to travel outside the occupied Palestinian territories since 1988. She campaigned for months in 2010 before receiving the permission to travel to Jordan for medical treatment.

In August 2014, Jarrar received a “special supervision order” from the Israeli military, which ordered her to leave Ramallah to live in the West Bank city of Ariha, also known as Jericho.

However, Jarrar set up a protest tent outside the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah, where she lived and worked, until the controversial order was overturned later in September that year.

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According to reports, a total of 13 Palestinian lawmakers are currently held in Israeli detention facilities without any trial under the so-called administrative detention, which is a policy according to which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli detention facilities without trial or charge.

Some Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.

Israel currently holds 495 Palestinian prisoners in administrative detention, according to ADDAMEER Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, an NGO that works to support Palestinian political prisoners.

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