Israel Extends Palestinian Lawmaker Khalida Jarrar's Detention Without Trial to One Year

Israeli army says she 'still poses a tangible risk,' but Jarrar's lawyer says move is politically motivated

Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar in Ofer military court, May 2015.
Alex Levac

Israel last week extended the administrative detention of Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar by a further six months, meaning she will have been held without trial for a year at the end of June.

As is usual in such cases, the evidence on which Jarrar is being held is deemed confidential and has not been released.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, a six-month detention warrant was initially issued against Jarrar last July, based on information indicating she is a leading activist in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which Israel defines as a terrorist organization.

The army said the legislator’s detention was extended last Sunday, “after defense officials found that she still poses a tangible risk.”

Jarrar’s lawyer, Mahmoud Hassan, said he believes the detention is politically motivated. “This is not detention that is really connected to the security of the area, as they claim. [Jarrar] has done nothing. There is nothing new. No new activity.”

Hassan said all the activity attributed to Jarrar had to do only with her work in the public sphere.

“There is no offense, nothing,” said Jarrar’s husband, Ghassan Jarrar. “There’s only a secret file. Confidential material. She’s a member of parliament. While she was in detention, they used this against her.”

He also said the family had been preparing for Jarrar’s release and that her lawyer had been informed only two days before the expected release date that her detention had been extended by another six months.

A photo of Khalida Jarrar on a chair at her Ramallah home, next to her cat, Ajawi.
Alex Levac

Jarrar has met with his wife twice since her arrest last July. “She has no phone; the women prisoners have no phones. I can’t talk to her," he said. "I was given a one-time permit and I used it twice. I visited her in October and on November 20. But now I have to apply for another one-time permit,” he added.

Jarrar said he hadn’t spoken to his wife since her detention was extended.

He also said the couple has two daughters, who have seen their mother only a few times since her latest detention. The younger of the two has a permit to visit her mother, while the older one came to visit her in August and then returned to Canada, where she lives.

Khalida Jarrar was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2006, but was arrested in April 2015, held in administrative detention for six months and then charged with security-related offenses. In December 2015, she was sentenced to 15 months in prison after a plea bargain between the military prosecutor and her lawyers. She was released in June 2016, before being placed in administrative detention for a second time last July.