Khalida Jarrar, an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and longtime advocate for Palestinian political prisoners was kidnapped by Israeli Occupation Forces during a raid on her home in Ramallah on April 2 at 3:00 am. The raid involved 60 soldiers, who also seized computers and Jarrar’s mobile phone. She is the 16th Palestinian parliamentarian now being held in Israeli prisons and one of nine under administrative detention without charge or trial. In total there are 6,000 Palestinian political prisoners and more than 500 administrative detainees.
On April 5, Jarrar was arbitrarily given six months “administrative detention” at the request of an Israeli military commander in the occupied West Bank. A hearing to confirm the order took place April 14 following a postponement from April 8; in addition, the military court leveled 12 entirely political charges against Jarrar (see report below), all of them related to her public speeches and political activities and advocacy for Palestinian political prisoners. Israeli Occupation Forces alleged that Jarrar had “encouraged ‘terror activities,’“ a term routinely applied to all forms of resistance to the illegal occupation of Palestine and Zionist war crimes. “Evidence” presented by the Israeli military prosecution consisted of examples of her political leadership, including videos of her attending demonstrations. Muna Qadan, an affiliate of Islamic Jihad was sentenced to 70 months in prison for “illegal political activity” just one day before Jarrar’s detention.
The Central Information Department of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), of which Jarrar is a prominent leader, condemned the detention and stated that it is “a desperate attempt to suppress her activity and prominent national role in defending the rights of the Palestinian people, the prisoners and their struggle, and to confront the policies and plans of the occupation and expose its crimes.”
The detention follows an unsuccessful attempt by Israeli Occupation Forces to evict Khalida Jarrar from her Ramallah home in August 2014. Jarrar refused to cooperate and staged round-the-clock protests until the order was dropped. The 2014 order aimed to transfer her to Jericho under the pretext that she “poses threat to the security of the region and she should be placed under private surveillance.” Like many Palestinian political leaders, she is not permitted to travel outside the occupied West Bank.
Samidoun, the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network points out, “The use of administrative detention dates from the ‘emergency laws’ of the British colonial era in Palestine. Israel’s use of administrative detention violates international law; such detention is allowed only in individual circumstances that are exceptionally compelling for ‘imperative reasons of security.’ In Palestine, however, Israel uses administrative detention routinely as a form of collective punishment and mass detention of Palestinians, and frequently uses administrative detention when it fails to obtain confessions in interrogations of Palestinian detainees.”
Israel’s illegal detention of Jarrar has been roundly condemned in Palestine, in the Israeli parliament (Knesset), and around the world.
Palestinian prisoner support organization Addameer says the arrest is “part of the systemic targeting of Palestinian political figures in order to criminalize their work and to silence them and stop them from practicing their roles in defending and supporting the Palestinian cause.”
The alliance of political parties in the Knesset known as the Joint List called the arrest a violation of international law and conventions, saying, “The arrest of Jarrar is a repressive and arbitrary step, part of a framework of targeting activists against the occupation.”
Protests were held in Gaza on April 6 and Ramallah April 7. In Gaza, resistance forces joined together at the local headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross to demand freedom for Khalida Jarrar and all Palestinian prisoners. Former political prisoner Mustafa Maslamani testified to the worsening situation for Palestinian prisoners including escalating violence from guards and security forces. The General Union of Palestinian Women protested outside the red cross in Ramallah with the same demands and announced activities for Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, April 17.
On April 10, the Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Ravina Shamdasani called on Israel to end the practice of administrative detentions and for Jarrar’s release. Shamdasani noted that as of February 2015 more than twice the number of administrative detainees are being held compared to the year before.
Samidoun reports that communist and progressive parties around the world have given their support to Jarrar including protests and statements. Other organizations have issued statements including Amnesty International, Independent Jewish Voices and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. Samidoun is urging individuals and organizations to take action by:
- Demanding her immediate release – click here.
- Signing this petition.
- Contacting elected representatives in your area.
- Protesting outside Israeli embassies and consulates.
A protest in solidarity with Khalida Jarrar and all Palestinian political prisoners took place in Ottawa April 14, the day of her detention hearing, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm, outside the Israeli embassy at 50 O’Connor St.
At a time when laws are being adopted in Canada which criminalize so-called advocacy of terrorism and increase the impunity and arbitrary activities of security agencies, the Zionist occupation forces in Palestine provide an example of how far a ruling elite will go in criminalizing those fighting for their rights. The affinity between the governments of Canada and Israel includes their characterization of resistance as terrorism, while the Canadian people have shown their support for the rights of Palestinians whenever they have come under attack.
All Out to Free Khalida Jarrar and All Palestinian Prisoners!
Victory to the Palestinian People in Ending the Occupation and Affirming Their Right to Be!
(TML Weekly, edited for this publication, with files from Samidoun, Ma’an News Agency, PFLP)
samidoun : Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network (April 16) – On April 15, the Israeli military court in Ofer convened a hearing on the case of imprisoned Palestinian parliamentarian, feminist and leftist political leader Khalida Jarrar, whose case has garnered widespread international support since her arrest on April 2. Jarrar had previously rejected an Israeli order to deport her from her home in Ramallah to Jericho, achieving a victory and the cancellation of the order.
Jarrar had previously been ordered to six months’ administrative detention; the hearing on April 15 was a rescheduling of the prior hearing on April 8, ostensibly to confirm the military order of administrative detention without charge or trial. Instead, on the April 15 hearing, the administrative detention order was confirmed; in addition, the military court leveled 12 entirely political charges against Jarrar, all of them related to her public speeches and political activities and advocacy for Palestinian political prisoners. It must be noted that nearly all Palestinian political parties and organizations, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, are banned by the Israeli military occupation, by military order, and membership in those parties, attending public events, engaging in television interviews or giving public speeches may be prosecuted by the Israeli military occupation.
The military court hearing was attended by representatives of the European Union, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and Amnesty International, in addition to other observer lawyers. “We were surprised by the prosecution, which explicitly said last week there were no grounds to detain her until the end of proceedings,” said Jarrar’s lawyer, Sahar Francis in Haaretz. “The indictment strengthens our argument that the imprisonment is vindictive.”
Despite the indictment, the military judge retained the administrative detention order, in order to continue to imprison Jarrar without trial and without providing any reasons to continue her detention and deny her release on bail. Her next hearing, on whether she will be imprisoned until trial on the charges, will be held on April 29, followed by a hearing on administrative detention May 6.
Addameer issued the following press release:
PLC Member Khalida Jarrar indicted but continues to be detained under administrative detention
Occupied Ramallah (April 25) – The occupation’s military prosecution submitted a charge sheet against PLC member Mrs. Khalida Jarrar in Ofer Military Court today, Wednesday 15 April 2015. The twelve charges against her revolve around her role as a PLC member and political leader and for her campaigning for prisoners.
The indictment was presented to Mrs. Jarrar’s defense team during a closed hearing regarding her six-month administrative detention order. Despite charges being presented, the judge determined to keep her under administrative detention to ensure that she will not be released from prison on bail.
Mrs. Jarrar will have a hearing on 29 April 2015 to determine if she will be remanded until the end of trial proceedings. If the court orders her to be remanded, the administrative detention order will be cancelled. If not, her administrative detention order will be considered on 6 May 2015 during a closed administrative detention confirmation hearing.
Addameer’ continues to emphasize the political and vindictive nature of Mrs. Jarrar’s arrest, which is a grave breach of her rights under international human rights and humanitarian law.
Diplomats, human rights organizations and international lawyers were in attendance of Mrs. Jarrar’s hearing today. Mrs. Jarrar is one of 13 Palestinian Legislative Council members currently in detention.