Prominent Palestinian Jerusalemite activist Nasser Abu Khdeir was scheduled for release from Israeli prison on Thursday, 23 August after completing a 16-month sentence. However, despite the completion of his sentence, he was ordered to six months in administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial – on Monday, 20 August, preventing his release and prohibiting him from returning home to his family.
Abu Khdeir has spent 15 years in Israeli jails through multiple arrests; a prominent leftist leader in Jerusalem, he is married to fellow activist and women’s organizer Abeer Abu Khdeir and the couple have five children. He holds a master’s degree in Israeli studies and teaches at Al-Quds University. He is suffering from severe back pain and shortness of breath.
In a statement, a source in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine responded to the arbitrary detention order, issued without charge or trial on the basis of so-called “secret evidence.” The PFLP statement said that the order is “illegitimate, reflecting the Zionist colonial mindset that directs the prisons and intelligence services and aims to break the will of the Palestinian people and their national leaders….The administrative detention order against the leader Abu Khdeir will not succeed in breaking his determination and commitment, and the occupation will achieve nothing but failure.”
Abu Khdeir is a member of the General Secretariat of the National People’s Congress. During his periods of imprisonment, he participated in multiple collective hunger strikes and protests during this time, including the 2011 strike against isolation; the 2012 Karameh hunger strike, the 2016 strike in solidarity with Bilal Kayed during his 71-day hunger strike, and the 2017 collective hunger strike.
Abu Khdeir has also extended his time and support to international activists in solidarity with Palestine, discussing the situation of Jerusalem, Palestinian politics and history and the current situation with many internationals traveling to Palestine.
He was imprisoned from:
17 October 1977 – 18 April 1978
1 April 1981 – 10 March 1986
16 October 1994 – 24 May 1995
21 February 2001 – 17 June 2002
14 December 2003 – 9 June 2004
7 June 2005 – 16 March 2006
15 April 2011 – 13 October 2016
In April, Abeer Abu Khdeir was released after serving two months in Israeli prison on charges that dated back seven years to when she and her daughters resisted invading Israeli forces’ attempt to detain her son Anan in 2011. Anan was 14 years old at the time.