Palestinian Activist From Sheikh Jarrah Released From Police Custody

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Muna El-Kurd on one of her Instagram posts
Muna El-Kurd on one of her Instagram posts Credit: צילום מסך

Israel Police released on Sunday prominent activist Muna El-Kurd, an influential spokesperson for the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah.

Earlier on Sunday, Muna and her brother, Mohammad, also a vocal advocate against the planned evictions of 13 Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah, were detained alongside two other East Jerusalem activists. Mohammad has not yet been released.

Credit: Muna ElKurd

The El-Kurd twins are extremely active on social media, and while Muna has some 1.2 million followers on Instagram, her brother has over half a million followers on the platform.

According to the police, Muna was detained on suspicion of “participation in disturbing the peace and in riots that have taken place recently in Sheikh Jarrah." Her arrest sparked a storm on social media and international protest.

On Sunday afternoon, the El-Kurd family held a press conference outside the police station in which she was held. The police used dozens of stun grenades to disperse the press conference, after supporters spotted Muna being placed in a police car.

Mohammad El-Kurd turned himself in at a police station in East Jerusalem after receiving the police summons.

Nabil El-Kurd, Muna's father, called on Sunday for a demonstration outside the police station and to rally in support of his daughter. "Israel fights my daughter because she is telling the story of Sheikh Jarrah," he said. "She is not behaving violently towards anyone. The only purpose here is to silence her and silence the voices of protest in the neighborhood. This is the time for everyone to stand up for this struggle."

On Saturday evening, a senior Al Jazeera journalist was released from detention several hours after border police detained her in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where she had been wearing body armor marked “press.”

Givara Budeiri suffered a broken arm and remained under observation Sunday at Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital, said Walid Omary, the Jerusalem bureau chief for Al Jazeera. Budeiri had been reporting regularly from Sheikh Jarrah, Omary said.

Last month, the police set up a checkpoint in the eastern part of the neighborhood and prevented anyone who was not a resident or in possession of an official Israeli press pass from entering.

In October last year, an Israeli court ruled in favor of Jewish settlers who say some eight Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah are living on land that used to belong to Jews.

Palestinians are appealing the decision at Israel's Supreme Court, and the evictions are currently on hold.

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