Petition calls for release of Palestinian women activists

Ramallah/PNN

The Ramallah-based Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association started a petition directed to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the European Union calling for the immediate release of Palestinian women activists, Khalida Jarrar and Khitam Saafin, who were arrested by Israel earlier this month, a press release said on Monday, WAFA reports.

Palestinian parliament member Jarrar and Saafin, president of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, were arrested at their Ramallah homes on July 2 in a pre-dawn raid.

On 9 July, Saafin was issued a three-month administrative detention order, without charge or trial and on 12 July, Jarrar was issued a six-month administrative order.

Saafin and Jarrar’s trials are both based on secret evidence; therefore, their legal representatives are unable to fully address the prosecution’s argument, which asserts that Jarrar and Saafin pose a security threat,” said Addameer press release.

Jarrar, elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in 2006, is also a member of the Board of Directors of Addameer. She has been the head of the Prisoners Commission of the PLC since 2006, and was appointed to the Palestinian National Committee for the follow-up to the International Criminal Court.

Jarrar was recently arrested and detained for more than one year, including serving one-month under administrative detention. She was released from prison in June 2016, WAFA added.

Saafin has participated in many worldwide events, including the World Social Forum, linking women’s struggles internationally with the struggle of Palestinian women for national and social liberation.

This practice of arbitrary detention is a grave violation of international laws and human rights standards, specifically the Fourth Geneva Convention,” said Addameer.

Addameer furthermore states “Both women are prominent civil society leaders and additionally, their work meets the United Nations definition of a human rights defender. It is our belief that Jarrar and Saafin are being illegitimately targeted and punished by Israeli military authorities as a result of their significant human rights work.”