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Israel releases prominent Palestinian lawmaker and activist Khalida Jarrar

Jarrar spent 20 months in administrative detention without trial
Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar in the northern West Bank district of Jenin upon her release on Thursday (Twitter)

A prominent Palestinian lawmaker was released from Israel’s Damon prison after 20 months in administrative detention without charges, local media reported.

Khalida Jarrar, 56, is a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). She is also a well-known human rights and feminist activist.

Jarrar was released in the early hours of Wednesday at the Salem checkpoint in the district of Jenin in the West Bank.

Translation: Pictures: MP Khalida Jarrar reunited with her family after her release from occupation jails today morning.

Israel has barred Jarrar from leaving the West Bank since 1998 due to her activism.

She was previously detained in 2015 and spent 14 months in jail over accusations by Israel that she breached her travel ban.

On 2 July 2017, she was arrested again, and her detention was extended for 20 months.

Administrative detention allows Israeli authorities to hold detainees indefinitely without charges or trial if they are perceived to be a threat to Israeli security.

Jarrar told reporters upon her release that she called for the release of all prisoners and for Palestinian unity.

In an interview with Wattan news agency on Thursday, Jarrar said that female Palestinian prisoners have been suffering dire prison conditions since the punitive measures announced by Israel’s public security minister Gilad Erdan against prisoners.

“The conditions of female prisoners are not easy, especially after Erdan’s decision when they were transferred from Hasharon prison to Damon as punishment for their 63-day strike against installing cameras in prison halls,” she told the news agency after her release.

In January, Erdan announced that his government would implement a set of punitive measures against Palestinian prisoners in Israel, including rationing water supply and ending the separation of prisoners belonging to different political factions.  

Palestinian NGOs and rights groups have documented “gendered violence” against female prisoners including sexual harassment, denial of sanitary towels and general humiliation. 

Jarrar said that rooms at the Damon prison are “full of humidity” and that prisoners are forced to cook in their rooms due to the lack of a kitchen.

“The occupation wants to bring the struggle of female prisoners back to square zero, but they are exercising pressure to change the situation,” she said.