12 Palestinian parliamentarians jailed by Israeli occupation

Mohammed Jamal Natsheh

An Israeli military court renewed the administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial – of Palestinian Legislative Council member Mohammed Jamal al-Natsheh. There are currently 12 imprisoned members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Israeli prisons.

Natsheh’s imprisonment was renewed for six months for the third time; he has been jailed without charge or trial on the basis of secret evidence since his home was stormed by occupation forces on 28 September 2016. He had previously been held without charge or trial under administrative detention and had been released for only seven months before being re-arrested. He has spent over 18 years in Israeli prisons.

An Israeli occupation court also rejected an appeal by the lawyer of fellow imprisoned Palestinian parliamentarian Ahmed Attoun, whose administrative detention without charge or trial was renewed for four months. He has been jailed since 12 April 2017.

Mohammed al-Tal

The Ofer military court, however, ordered that PLC member Mohammed al-Tal, from Dahariyeh south of al-Khalil, will be released in approximately two weeks. Al-Tal was seized by occupation forces on 21 March 2017 and ordered to administrative detention without charge or trial for four months. After the expiration of his detention period he was then charged in the Israeli military courts; he was sentenced to nine and a half months in Israeli prison, leaving only two weeks remaining before his pending release.

Similarly, on 13 September, Azzam Salhab was sentenced to 12 months in prison by the Ofer military court; he had been imprisoned since 28 November 2016 under administrative detention before being transferred, like al-Tal, to the military courts. Salhab is expected to be released in late November.

Natsheh, Attoun, Salhab and al-Tal are all members of the Change and Reform Bloc, the parliamentary bloc associated with the Hamas movement. Other PLC members from the bloc held in Israeli jails include Mohammed Abu Teir, Omar Abdel-Razak, Mohammed Badr, Ibrahim Dahbour, and Ahmad Mubarak.

Also held without charge or trial under administrative detention is Khalida Jarrar, the leftist feminist parliamentarian and Palestinian national leader, seized on 2 July by occupation forces; she was ordered to six months in administrative detention. Jarrar is a member of the Abu Ali Mustafa Bloc, associated with the Palestinian Left and the Popular Front for the Liberatin of Palestine.

Fellow imprisoned Palestinian parliamentarians include two of the most prominent political leaders serving lengthy sentences: Ahmad Sa’adat, 63, the imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine serving a 30-year prison sentence after he and his comrades were abducted by Israeli forces attacking a Palestinian Authority prison in Jericho in 2006, and Marwan Barghouthi, prominent Fateh leader serving five life sentences and imprisoned since 2002.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network demands the immediate release of all of the imprisoned Palestinian parliamentarians. Their imprisonment reflects an Israeli drive to criminalize and confiscate Palestinian leaders while denying any true political expression to people under occupation.