On 21 July, the South African government issued a statement urging freedom for imprisoned Palestinian leftist parliamentarian and national leader Khalida Jarrar. Seized on 2 July alongside fellow Palestinian activist Khitam Saafin, the president of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, Jarrar is a prominent member of the Palestinian Legislative Council as well as a feminist, leftist and advocate for the freedom of Palestinian political prisoners. She has been ordered to six months in administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial – and Saafin to three months in detention without charge; both orders are indefinitely renewable. Organizations and movements around the world have joined in the call to free Jarrar and Saafin.
The statement follows:
The SA Government calls for the release of a Palestinian Legislative Council member.
The South African Government notes with concern the arrest and subsequent imprisonment of Palestinian Legislative Council member, Ms Khalida Jarrar, who was arrested in Ramallah (Area A and under Control of the Palestinian Authority) on 2 July 2017 by the occupying Israeli military.
The arrest was subsequently followed by a six month administrative detention order on 12 July 2017 without charge or trial.
Ms Jarrar in addition to being a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) is also a civil society leader and one of approximately 500 Palestinians currently in Israeli jails under administrative detention measure.
South Africans are too familiar with the administrative detention measure which is similar to “detention without trial” under which political leaders could be imprisoned for days without due process at the behest of the apartheid security forces.
Israel is a signatory of the Fourth Geneva Convention which embodies fair trail and the right of an accused to defend him or herself. The South African Government calls upon Israel to abide and respect the provisions of this convention as an occupying force.
South Africa calls for Ms Jarrar, Vice-President of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and a respected leader of her people, to be accorded the space to play her rightful role in the development of the State of Palestine.
Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, 082 884 5974
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