khalida jarrar release

MP Khalida Jarrar finally free!

Israeli authorities released imprisoned Palestinian parliament member Khalida Jarrar on Friday, after being held for 14 months in Israeli prison.

The Israeli authorities released Jarrar at the Jbara checkpoint near the northern occupied West Bank district of Tulkarem.

Speaking at a press conference in front of her home in Ramallah on Friday evening, Jarrar called attention to the difficult conditions she faced in custody, which female Palestinian prisoners still being held in Israeli prisons and jails continue to endure.

She highlighted the filthy prison cells in which Palestinian women are held, and the decrease in family visitation permitted to prisoners. Jarrar said that the main request of female prisoners was to “turn words into actions” with regards to their issues.

Jarrar, a leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was detained on April 2 from her home in Ramallah and initially sentenced to six months of administrative detention — internment without trial or charge.

However, international pressure later forced Israeli authorities to bring charges against her, all 12 of which focused on her political activism.

Jarrar was charged with security-related offenses related to her membership and activities with the PFLP — a Palestinian political party Israel considers a “terrorist” organization, along with the majority of other Palestinian political factions — and accused of inciting violence.

A judge ordered Jarrar to be released on bail in May, claiming there was not sufficient evidence for her posing a security threat. However, another judge reversed the decision a week later, ordering her to remain in prison until her trial.

In December, an Israeli military court sentenced Jarrar to 15 months in prison and a fine of 10,000 shekels ($2,582), with an additional suspended sentence of 12 months within a five-year period.

At the time, Jarrar accused the Israeli military prosecution of working to keep her in jail as long as possible, adding that she “did not expect anything from military courts. They are a joke, it’s like a big theater, I do not trust them and my detention has been political since the beginning.”

Jarrar also said that she refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the court, stating that all charges pressed against her were “ridiculous” and related to completely legal activities, including social and political work as a member of parliament.

Jarrar also heads the PLC’s prisoners’ committee and acts as the Palestinian representative in the Council of Europe, an international organization promoting human rights and democracy around the world.

Her arrest was condemned by the international community, as Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups demanded her release.

Following Jarrar’s release, six incumbent Palestinian parliament members still remain in Israeli prisons, including Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti and PFLP Secretary-General Ahmad Saadat. According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, there are 70 female Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody.
Addameer documented a 70 percent increase in the detention of Palestinian women and girls between 2013 and 2015. More than 10,000 Palestinian women have been detained by Israeli forces since 1967.