Saturday, June 04, 2016

Prominent Palestinian MP/Human Rights Champion Freed

Prominent Palestinian MP/Human Rights Champion Freed

by Stephen Lendman

On April 2, 2015, Israel lawlessly arrested Khalida Jarrar, abducted from her home pre-dawn, targeted solely for political reasons. 

She represents a tower of strength and commitment for Palestinian rights - a highly respected lawyer, Palestinian Legislative Council member, civil society leader, human rights champion, and PLC Prisoners Commission head.

On April 5, 2015, she was ordered administratively detained for six months - uncharged and untried. She committed no crimes.

On April 15, 2015, she was indicted on 12 fabricated charges, related to her PLC membership and political activism, notably campaigning for prisoners’ rights and criticizing longstanding Israeli repression.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) representing parliaments of 163 countries expressed concern “about (her) conviction in light of the multiple irregularities surrounding her arrest, detention and prosecution.”

In a letter sent EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, 58 European parliament members expressed their “strongest condemnation of the latest Israeli escalation against Palestinian legislators and the suppression of the Palestinian political leadership.”

Guilt by accusation is virtually automatic in Israeli military courts. Jarrar’s trial was marked by gross irregularities, rigged to convict. She was sentenced to 15 months in prison - on June 3 released a month early, after an international campaign on her behalf.

She remained redoubtable throughout her ordeal despite serious health problems exacerbated by incarceration - including multiple ischemic infarctions, hypercholesterolemia, and deep vein thrombosis.

At a Friday evening press conference, she explained horrific conditions she faced in detention, what other Palestinian prisoners endure, including deplorable treatment, filthy cells and limited family visitation rights.

Throughout proceedings against her, she rejected the legitimacy of Israel’s military court, called charges against her “ridiculous,” said she was prosecuted solely for legal political activities, including her role as a parliamentarian.

At the time of her prosecution and sentencing, PLO Executive Committee Hanan Ashrawi condemned what she called “part of a deliberate attack on Palestinian politicians,” - besides “constitut(ing) a blatant violation of Khalida’s parliamentary immunity.”

Six Palestinian MPs remain lawlessly imprisoned, including Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti (Palestine’s most popular leader) and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) secretary-general Ahmad Saadat.

Separately on Friday, Israel renewed administrative detentions against PFLP members Jamal Barham and Shahir Ali al-Rai for another six months.

They’ve been illegally held since June 2015, solely for their legal political activities. They committed no crimes. Israel wants them and other Palestinian activists silenced or eliminated.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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