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Palestinian politician jailed for 15 months by Israeli court

PFLP member Khalida Jarrar sentenced for inciting violence and violating travel ban in case slammed as unjustified by supporters
Khalida Jarrar, a member of the PFLP, gestures upon her arrival for a court session on 10 August 2015 (AFP)

An Israeli military court has jailed Palestinian politician Khalida Jarrar for 15 months on charges including inciting violence and violating a travel ban.

Jaffar, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was also fined the equivalent $2,600 on Monday during the case at Ofer prison.

"Jarrar was sentenced to 15 months on the charges she was arrested for a few months ago, including incitement of terrorism," an army spokesperson told AFP on Monday.

The period since April will be considered part of her sentence, meaning she is likely to remain in jail until next summer. She was also given a five-year suspended sentence.

Jarrar, 52, is also a senior member of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) group.

She was arrested at her home in a pre-dawn raid on 2 April and was initially put under six months of administrative detention where she was held on no charges or trial.

However, pressure from the international community forced Israel to charge her with 12 counts, mainly to do with her political activism, inciting violence, and violating a travel ban.

Israel considers the PFLP a terrorist organisation and at the time of her arrest the Israeli army said she posed unspecified "substantial security risks".

'Unjustified' sentence

Issa Qaraqe, Palestinian minister for prisoner affairs, condemned the trial, calling it "arbitrary and legally unjustified".

"This is a political arrest. The charges against her are fabricated and ridiculous... there are no security reasons as claimed by the Israeli authorities," he told AFP.

The prisoner rights group Addameer, of which Jarrar is vice-chairwoman, called her sentence as “vengeful, arbitrary and political, with an aim to punish her for her political opinions and activism for Palestinian human rights”.

At Jarrar’s first hearing in August, the two witnesses giving evidence told the court that their confessions were obtained through “torture and ill-treatment” by Israeli interrogators.

Her lawyer, Mahmoud Hassan, later said: "[Jarrar] doesn’t expect [to receive] any justice from the court of the occupation, especially when the prosecution says that she will be held under an administrative order ”if the court orders her release".

The PFLP described the court decision as “tyrannical and part of the ongoing Israeli terrorism against the Palestinian people”. 

Jarrar is a member of the Palestinian parliament which has not met since 2007 after elections a year earlier were won by the Islamist movement Hamas.

In August 2014 she was ordered to leave Ramallah within 24 hours and to move to Jericho, but announced at the time she would disobey it.

There are 15 Palestinian legislators inside Israeli prisons, Jarrar included, with most of them held on administrative detention.

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