Palestinians demand release of jailed MP for daughter’s funeral

Rights groups say Israel should allow Khalida Jarrar to attend the funeral of her daughter Suha, 31, who was found dead in her Ramallah home.

Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar is welcomed by Palestinian activists following her release from an Israeli jail at Israeli Jbara checkpoint near the West Bank city of Tulkarm
Palestinian legislator Khalida Jarrar has been arrested numerous times and done several stints in Israeli administrative detention [File: Abed Omar Qusini/Reuters]

Palestinian activists and rights groups have called on Israeli authorities to release Khalida Jarrar, a Palestinian legislator serving a prison term, so that she can attend her daughter’s funeral.

Israeli prison services reportedly denied on Monday the request for Jarrar, a political prisoner, to attend the funeral, according to Palestinian activists and Israeli media.

Suha Jarrar, 31, was found dead on Sunday evening at her home in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, reported Palestinian media. According to the reports, Jarrar died of a heart attack.

The young Jarrar was working as a legal researcher and advocacy officer at the Ramallah-based Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organisation. Some of her most prominent work focused on the environmental effects of Israeli occupation.

In a 2019 report, she argued that discriminatory Israeli policies impede Palestinians in the occupied West Bank from being able to adapt to climate change.

In an obituary, Al-Haq said that Suha was “a fierce advocate for the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, freedom, and dignity”.

Al-Haq said it sent an urgent appeal to the United Nations calling for the “immediate and unconditional” release of Jarrar from Israeli prisons to bid farewell to her daughter.

Palestinian activists also circulated an online petition calling for her release. Others organised demonstrations in support of the calls in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“Having repeatedly detained Khalida [Jarrar] in violation of her rights, Israeli authorities should at minimum allow her to say goodbye to her daughter,” Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch’s Israel and Palestine director wrote in an obituary for Suha.

Jarrar’s imprisonment

An Israeli military court sentenced Jarrar to two years in prison in March over “inciting violence” and belonging to a “banned organisation”. She is slated to be released in September.

The prominent Palestinian politician has been in detention since Israeli forces arrested her from her home in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah in October 2019.

Jarrar, who is also a member of the defunct Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Palestine’s suspended parliament, has been arrested numerous times and done several stints in Israeli administrative detention, under which Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip are detained without charge or trial for a period of up to six months.

The 58-year-old is associated with the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is considered a “terrorist” group by Israel.

Jarrar was first arrested in 1989 and held for a month without trial. For her second detention in 2014, she was sentenced to 15 months in prison. She was eventually released in February 2019, before being arrested again nine months later.

Source: Al Jazeera