Palestinian MP gets six months in Israel jail without trial

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Khalida Jarrar, a Palestinian Legislative Council member, sentenced to administrative detention without trial

Khalida Jarrar arrives home after an earlier period in detention (AFP)
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Friday 14 July 2017 8:57 UTC
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Prominent Palestinian politician and rights campaigner Khalida Jarrar has been ordered to spend six months in jail without trial by Israeli authorities.

Jarrar was arrested earlier this month over her membership of a movement that Israel considers a terrorist organisation after having been released from prison only a year before.

A legislator in the largely defunct Palestinian parliament, she was given a six-month administrative detention order, said the Addameer rights NGO that she used to head.

A confirmation hearing will be held at Ofer military court in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on 17 July, Addameer said in a statement issued late on Wednesday.

The "detention constitutes an attack against Palestinian civil society leaders," the movement said.

The Israeli army did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Jarrar's case.

Jarrar, who is a popular figure among Palestinians and is known for fiery speeches against the Israeli occupation, is a senior figure in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a left-leaning Palestinian political organisation opposed to a two-state solution and considered a terrorist organisation by Israel, the United States and European Union.

Many of its leaders are in custody and Jarrar has been jailed multiple times.

Israel has said she was arrested for her involvement with the PFLP.

The 54-year-old had only been released in June 2016 after 14 months in an Israeli jail for allegedly encouraging attacks against Israelis.

Israel's controversial administrative detention policy allows imprisonment without trial for six-month periods renewable indefinitely.

Israel says it is intended to allow authorities to hold suspects while continuing to gather evidence. But the system has been criticised by Palestinians, human rights groups and members of the international community who say Israel abuses the measure.

The PFLP was involved in hijackings and other major attacks in the 1970s and has been linked to a string of suicide bombings and assassinations from 2002 to 2014. Last month the group claimed responsibility for the killing of a police officer outside Jerusalem's Old City.

In an interview with Middle East Eye earlier this, Jarrar’s daughter, Suha Jarrar, 26, said her mother's arrest occurred during a raid involving 35 Israeli soldiers who broke down doors and cornered each member of the family in separate rooms.

She said that she was detained in her room and by the time Israeli soldiers allowed her to go to the balcony of her home to say goodbye to her mother, Khalida was already in one of the military vehicles.

"I was on the balcony screaming to my mother that I love her and to stay strong and that we are strong," she said.

"While I was on the balcony, my dad asked the soldiers to untie me and they told him to untie me himself. After that they left."

At least 13 Palestinian politicians are currently imprisoned in Israeli jails, including nine who are being held without charge under administrative detention, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Centre for Studies.