Skip to main content

Israel releases two Jordanians after months in jail without charge

Heba al-Labadi and Abdelrahman Meri were reunited with their families who waited for them on the King Hussein Bridge at the Jordan-Israel border
Heba al-Labadi is escorted by Jordanian security personnel after her release from an Israeli jail on Wednesday (Screengrab)

Israel has released two Jordanian nationals on Wednesday who had been imprisoned without trial for the past two months.

Heba al-Labadi, 24, and Abdelrahman Meri, 29, were reunited with their families who were waiting for them on the King Hussein Bridge at the Jordan-Israel border, with hundreds of Jordanians ready to greet them nearby.

"I'm very happy to be out," Labadi told reporters at the crossing, reported Aljazeera. "Thank you to his majesty King Abdullah, the foreign ministry and the Jordanian people who supported and stood by me."

The two were arrested separately - Labadi in August and Meri in September - and put under administrative detention, a system that allows Israeli authorities to stop and hold people without charge or the possibility of appeal for prolonged periods.

Jordan recalled its ambassador last week in protest at Israel’s refusal to release the pair. On Monday, an Israeli government statement said that the ambassador would return to Israel "in the coming days".

Labadi’s father, Abu Hatem, told MEE last month that his daughter, who holds Jordanian citizenship but also has a Palestinian Authority identity card, was arrested on 20 August on her way back from a relative’s wedding in the occupied West Bank town of Yabad.

She started a hunger strike on 24 September after an Israeli court sentenced her to six months of administrative detention for publishing “inciting posts” on social media.

She was placed in solitary confinement in Damon prison, in northern Israel, and then moved to Jalameh prison, near Haifa.

"I didn't know the charges, it was a hard feeling because I didn't know the reason why I was there," Labadi said at the border crossing. "They were hitting the table. They told me you are at the intelligence office now. I wasn't aware of what was going on."

Meri was arrested as he attempted to cross the King Hussein Bridge from the West Bank to Jordan with his mother on 2 September, Meri's brother Othman told MEE. He had been handed four months of administrative detention.

According to Palestinian prisoners' rights group Addameer, there are 5,050 Palestinians in Israeli jails at present, 460 of whom are under administrative detention.