Jordan Calls on Israel to Release Two Citizens Arrested Going Into the West Bank

Heba Al-labadi, who went on a hunger strike, ‘was interrogated intensively for 35 days’ over supporting terrorism, ‘and in the end, there was no basis for indicting her,’ lawyer says

The Allenby border crossing, August 2017.
Emil Salman

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry delivered an official objection to Israel’s acting ambassador in Amman on Sunday over Israel’s detention of two Jordanian citizens.

Petra, Jordan's state news agency, identified the two as Heba Al-labadi and Abdurrahman Marei. It said they were arrested at the Allenby Bridge crossing on their way to the West Bank.

The Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, Sufian Qudah, said the Jordanian Embassy in Tel Aviv has demanded that they be released and to ensure that they be held in adequate conditions until that happens.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has yet to respond to the report.

Al-labadi, a Jordanian citizen who also holds a Palestinian identity card, is suspected of contact with a foreign agent and supporting terrorism, Haaretz has learned. She was arrested on August 20th when she arrived at the Allenby Bridge with her mother and aunt on their way to a relative’s wedding in Jenin.

According to her attorney, Raslan Mahajna, she is suspected of meeting with people identified with Hezbollah during trips to Beirut both last year and early this year. While visiting her sister in Beirut, he said, Al-labadi did meet once with an announcer from the Al-Nour radio station, which is owned by Hezbollah.

Mahajna added that Al-labadi often voices her views against the occupation of the West Bank on social media, but said that doesn’t justify her arrest.

“She was interrogated intensively for 35 days, and in the end, there was no basis for indicting her, so she was slapped with an administrative detention order,” he said. “She’s been on hunger strike for 13 days, because in her view, this was an arbitrary, unjustified arrest.”

Al-labadi’s family members asked the Jordanian government to intervene in her case, Mahajna continued. They said she was not involved in terrorism and had worked as a bank clerk in the United Arab Emirates until a few months ago. The Jordanian Foreign Ministry’s statement said its embassy in Tel Aviv is trying to arrange for her mother and brother to visit her.

Marei was arrested on September 2 while en route to a wedding in Nablus. His mother was told he would be held for questioning for a few days, and he has been under arrest ever since. His family has not been told the reason for his detention. His relatives said he has cancer, and they are concerned his medical condition will deteriorate in jail.