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Two Jordanians held in Israeli administrative detention

Labadi and Meri are the first two Jordanian prisoners to held under the pretext, with Jordanian authorities working for their release
Abdelrahman Meri, 29, and Heba al-Labadi, 24, are the first Jordanian citizens to be held in Israeli administrative detention (Screengrab)

Two Jordanians are languishing in the legal limbo of Israeli administrative detention, the first time any of the kingdom's citizens have been held under the much-criticised pretext, their relatives have told Middle East Eye.

Heba al-Labadi, 24, and Abdelrahman Meri, 29, were arrested separately 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.

Labadi’s father, Abu Hatem, told MEE that his daughter was arrested on 20 August on her way back from a relative’s wedding in the occupied West Bank town of Yabad, near the city of Jenin.

Labadi holds citizenship of both Jordan, where she lives, and a Palestinian Authority identity card.

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

Since then, she has been placed in solitary confinement in Damon prison, in northern Israel, and then moved to Jalameh prison, near Haifa.

“Heba’s health is deteriorating in abnormal conditions in the prison. She has a court hearing on 17 October, but every day that passes is a risk for her life and Abdelrahman’s,” Abu Hatem said.

Samer Simaan, the lawyer from Addameer, a Palestinian prisoners' rights group, visited Labadi on 3 October.

He said in a statement that she had been interrogated by Israeli authorities for 17 hours a day, from 9am to 2am, for the first 16 days she was detained.

Labadi was also denied any legal help for the first 25 days of her arrest.

“Heba is subjected to being searched every two hours, including throughout the night, and often by soldiers," Simaan said. 

'Heba’s health is deteriorating in abnormal conditions in the prison'

- Abu Hatem, Labadi’s father

"Heba’s isolation cell is filthy and has surveillance cameras. The designated area for bathing is completely exposed, and therefore she has not been able to shower since arriving at Jalameh prison.”

The lawyer added that her cell has no windows but has an air conditioning unit that keeps it cold and has one dirty bed sheet. Heba is not allowed to walk in the prison’s yard.

Until 1 October, Labadi refused a medical examination and has been checked by medics once since.

“She confirmed that she is not taking any vitamins, nutritional supplements or salt, and she is content with only drinking water. She has lost eight kilograms since starting her hunger strike,” Simaan said.

Labadi spent the first 32 days at Petah Tikva interrogation centre. She was then transferred to Damon prison and on 24 September was sent to Jalameh prison after being placed in administrative detention.

MEE has contacted the Israeli Prison Service for comment.

Legal limbo

Meri was arrested as he attempted crossing the Allenby Bridge from the West Bank to Jordan with his mother on 2 September, according to Meri's brother Othman. He has been handed four months administrative detention, Othman said.

“We don’t know what his charge is and what his health situation is," Othman told MEE. 

"After my mum crossed the border, she waited for him for four hours. Then he came out handcuffed and soldiers told my mum that in 72 hours he would be released.”

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Meri was treated in 2010 for nasal cancer, which Othman noted requires cleanliness and care.

“The occupation authorities refused to admit new clothes for Abdelrahman and now he suffers from a skin disease, which developed in detention,” Othman said.

He added that Jordan’s foreign ministry informed them on Thursday that Abdelrahman's release “would be soon”, without specifying the date or clarification.

Sufyan al-Qudah, spokesperson of Jordan’s foreign ministry, told MEE that the Jordanian government is following up Labadi and Meri's cases.

“We asked the Israeli authorities to release them and treat them with respect until they are set free, while the Jordanian embassy’s officials visit them to check on their health,” Qudah said.

Labadi and Meri are the first two Jordanian prisoners to be placed in administrative detention, but they are not the only ones detained. Currently, there are 23 Jordanians being held in Israeli jails serving different sentences.

'We don’t know what his charge is and what his health situation is'

- Othman, Meri's brother

According to Addameer, 5,150 Palestinians were detained by Israel as of July - 460 of whom are under administrative detention.

Currently, there are five Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, all of them from West Bank towns.

Ahmed Zahran, 42, is on his 18th day of a hunger strike; Musaab al-Hindi, 29, has been on a hunger strike for 16 days; Tarek Gaadan, a 46-year-old, has been without food for 72 days; Ismail Ali, 30, from Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem, has been striking for 79 days; and Ahmed Ghanaam, a 42-year-old Palestinian from the village of Dura, began his hunger strike 89 days ago on 14 July, the day he was arrested and placed in detention without charge.