ELDH Letter for the release of the Palestinian member of parliament Khalida Jarrar

Letter sent to the Israeli Prime Minister and to the Brigadier General and Judge Advocate General

We demand the immediate release of the Palestinian member of parliament Khalida Jarrar. Mrs. Jarrar, a lawyer and a longtime prisoners’ rights activist and political leader, was arrested in her Ramallah home in the early morning hours of April 2, for violating a military order restricting her movement in the West Bank. The army said the restraining order was based on her “incitement and involvement in terror”.

She is also a member of the Palestinian team that monitors relations with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, a fact which might have been the real cause for her arrest and detention, as has been assumed in a number of media reports.

On 5th April the Israeli Army issued a six-month administrative detention order against Khalida Jarrar without an indictment or trial. Her lawyer told the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz that the detention order had been signed already on April 2nd, the day of her arrest. This indicates that the assumption of Mrs. Jarrar’s lawyer is right that the detention order was prepared in advance. Khalida Jarrar has suffered a series of strokes and has high blood cholesterol; she needs medication and blood tests every few days for her condition.

There are severe doubts as to the legality of the arrest and detention of Mrs. Khalida Jarrar.

There does not seem to be any evidence for the allegations in the restraining order. If there were such evidence for Mrs. Jarrar’s involvement in terror the reaction of the army would certainly not have been a restraining order. In the meantime it is known that administrative detention was ordered due to a lack of evidence.

By the arrest and the detention,  Art. 9 Para 3 and 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (amongst other provisions) have been violated, because Mrs. Jarrar had no chance of a fair trial.

3. Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should occasion arise, for execution of the judgement.

4. Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful.

ELDH strongly urges you to release Mrs. Jarrar immediately together with all other Palestinians kept in administrative detention. We also urge you to provide her the necessary medical treatment.

There are now 18 members of the elected Palestinian Legislative Council imprisoned by Israel, 9 under administrative detention without trial or charge. PLC members have been repeatedly and systematically targeted by Israeli occupation forces.

ELDH condemns all kinds of terrorist acts committed by individuals, organisations or states. However the Israeli state and the Israeli army do not have the right to use the occurrence of such acts to arrest and to detain innocent people, even if they are political adversaries.