Israeli Arab MKs Call for Release of Palestinian Lawmaker Arrested by Israel

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Khalida Jarrar's husband holding up a poster of her following her arrest on April 2, 2015. Credit: AFP

MK Ahmad Tibi and two other Joint List politicians called Wednesday for the immediate release of a Palestinian lawmaker arrested by Israel last week.

“This is a political detention of an elected official who is opposed to the occupation,” MK Aida Touma-Suliman said at the Ofer Prison military tribunal, which postponed a hearing Wednesday on the administrative detention of Khalida Jarrar, a member of the Palestinian parliament and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. “The State of Israel should be ashamed of the draconian regime of administrative detentions, which is unparalleled in any democracy.”

Jarrar was arrested last week and the army ordered her imprisoned without trial for six months. Wednesday's hearing, whose deferral Jarrar’s lawyers requested, had been scheduled to discuss approving the detention order.

Israeli authorities suspect Jarrar of violating Israeli travel restrictions that banned her from leaving the Jericho area.

But Kaddoura Fares, who tracks the welfare of Palestinian prisoners, has said the timing of Jarrar’s arrest — she is a member of a Palestinian national committee that monitors International Criminal Court procedures and was arrested just after the Palestinian Authority joined the ICC — demonstrates that Israel is persecuting Jarrar out of vindictiveness.

The military prosecution submitted evidence, including classified material, against Jarrar on Wednesday but said the information was insufficient for either requesting a remand extension until the end of proceedings or filing an indictment. Jarrar’s lawyers requested the postponement to give them a chance to review the unclassified evidence before the next hearing.

That evidence was not submitted until Wednesday morning, indicating that the prosecution is not behaving in good faith, said Sahar Francis, who represents Jarrar.

MK Osama Saadia of the Joint List joined Tibi and Touma-Suliman at a protest vigil outside the military tribunal Wednesday, along with several senior Palestinian officials. The three Israeli MKs met with Jarrar and called for her release.

Touma-Suliman said Jarrar’s health was deteriorating and that she requires close medical supervision.

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