Khalida Jarrar, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), gestures upon her arrival for a court session at Israel's Ofer military court, near the West Bank city of Ramallah on August 10, 2015. AFP/AHMAD GHARABLI

Israel renews administrative detention of left-wing lawmaker, Khalida Jarrar

PNN/ Ramallah/

Israeli Occupation Authorities on Sunday renewed Palestinian parliamentarian and lawmaker Khalida Jarrar’s administrative detention for a period of four months. She has been held without charge or trial since she was seized from her house at night on July 1 2017; her initial detention period was already renewed once before in December 2017 for six months.

The specifics of the investigation are being held secret, but the army previously made a statement saying they had “intelligence pointing to Jarrar being an activist in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is defined as a terrorist organization”. It is believed this is the crime she is accused of committing, as well as incitement. She is not permitted to see the evidence, if it does exist.

However many believe the real reason was her campaign to bring Israel in front of the International Criminal Court for war crimes. According to her husband, the 55 year old activist has been politically outspoken for decades, but it was only recently that she was targeted. In 2014, a failed attempt was made to forcibly transfer her from her house in Ramallah to Jericho. She was then arrested in December 2015 and imprisoned for 15 months. Official reasons were similar charges to the current investigation: alleged incitement and membership of the PFLP, however the fact that she was arrested on 2nd April, a day after Palestinian membership of the ICC came into effect, made many believe this was actually why she had been targeted.

Administrative detention is a tool that has been used against Palestinians since the days of the British Mandate. Classed as a period of investigation before official sentencing or imprisonment, detainees are not entitled to legal representation and often undergo psychological torture, such as sleep deprivation. This is against international law, defying the Geneva Convention and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Khalida Jarra’s case is not isolated- Israel consistently targets Palestinian political leaders. There are currently 431 Palestinians under administrative detention, and 6036 political prisoners, 6 of whom are Palestinian legislative council members.