Khalida Jarrar, the Palestinian leftist parliamentarian and feminist who has been imprisoned since 2 April by the Israeli occupation army faced an Israeli military court at Ofer on Monday, 24 August. Her hearing before the military court had been postponed two times before. The hearing continued for about six hours and will continue on 20 September.
Two of the three witnesses brought by the prosecution were raided and arrested in order to be forced to testify in court and the third was brought from prison as he is now detained. Two witnesses testified, and the third will be brought back to testify on 20 September. Both witnesses denied the information attributed to their confessions and testified that they were false confessions extracted through duress and torture: sleep deprivation, isolation and threats of arresting their family members. The military prosecution then, with the approval of the judge, treated the witnesses as “hostile witnesses,” while Khalida’s defense lawyers from Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association emphasized that such confessions extracted under torture and duress are unreliable and false and must be rejected.
Jarrar was arrested on 2 April 2015 by Israeli occupation forces who invaded her Ramallah home in a nighttime raid. Jarrar is a prominent advocate for Palestinian political prisoners, chair of the Palestinian Legislative Council’s prisoners’ committee, former executive director of Addameer and current vice chair of Addameer’s board of directors. In August-September 2014, she defeated an attempt by the Israeli state to forcibly displace her to Jericho, setting up a permanent protest tent outside the PLC building and protesting until the order was cancelled. When arrested, she was immediately ordered to administrative detention without charge or trial; in light of the massive outcry over her detention, her case was then shifted to the military courts. She is being charged with 12 entirely political charges, including membership and support for a prohibited organization (which include most major Palestinian political party) and public speeches and support for Palestinian political prisoners.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes Khalida Jarrar and urges her immediate freedom. The solidarity and outrage from around the world, alongside her steadfastness, forced the cancellation of her administrative detention and of the forced displacement order; now it is time to step up the struggle to win her freedom and keep protesting and organizing.
Addameer’s statement follows below:
Yesterday, 24 August 2015, the first hearing for witness testimonies in the trial of Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar was held. Three of the prosecution’s witnesses attended, and two presented their testimonies due to time constraints.
The two witnesses spoke about the conditions of which their confessions were obtained, including torture and ill treatment. Subsequently, the prosecution requested the witnesses to be held as “hostile witnesses” and the court accepted the request. This enabled the prosecution to cross-examine the witnesses and to claim that the confessions obtained initially were true, whereas the witnesses were making false statements in the courtroom.
The defense however was seeking to prove the opposite- that their initial confessions were flawed as they were obtained under duress. The witnesses spoke of pressure and ill-treatment during interrogation including sleep deprivation, being tied in painful stress positions for long hours, being threatened with further torture and with the arrest of family members. Additionally, it was brought to light that witnesses were banned from lawyer visits for long periods, indicating that their confessions were made without legal counseling. The next hearing for testimonies is set to 20 September 2015.