Khalida Jarrar freed from Israeli prison after 20 months of administrative detention

Palestinian national leader, parliamentarian, feminist and leftist Khalida Jarrar was released from Israeli prison early Thursday morning, 28 February 2019, after 20 months of imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention. In an interview (video below with English subtitles) given immediately after her release, Jarrar said that “the prisoners are an integral part of the Palestinian people’s movement, and their message is always unity.”

She highlighted the conditions of Palestinian women prisoners as well as their role in the prisoners’ movement, urging attention to the conditions that they face in Damon prison after their transfer from HaSharon prison.

This video, with an interview by journalist Ali Samoudi, was filmed immediately after her release:

Jarrar’s family was told that she would be released from the Jalameh checkpoint around 12 noon, but instead she was released in the early morning at the Salem checkpoint west of Jenin. From there, she will visit the gravesite of her father in Nablus, who died during her imprisonment. She will be received at the Catholic Hall in Ramallah for a reception on Thursday night, to be followed by further receptions on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Jarrar’s daughter Yafa said on social media that the shifting of the time and place of her release was a deliberate attempt by the Israeli occupation to minimize celebrations of her release. “Israeli occupation forces just released Mom at 4:00 am (Jerusalem time) this morning at Salem checkpoint near Jenin, which is contrary to what they have informed us. Mom was informed that she would be release at 12:30 pm at Al-jalameh checkpoint near Nablus. Instead, they released Mom in the very early hours at a different location and let her walk free by herself in the middle of no where. In spite of Israel’s attempts to disrupt her reception, Mom is FREE!” she noted.

Jarrar has been imprisoned since 2 July 2017, held without charge or trial under administrative detention. Her administrative detention order was renewed four times, most recently on 25 October. Over 275 organizations, political parties and social movements around the world joined in a collective call for her release.

This is not the first time that Jarrar has been imprisoned by the Israeli occupation; her arrest in 2017 came only 13 months after she was released from Israeli prison after serving a 15-month sentence for her public political activity. After being arrested in 2015, she was ordered to administrative detention; in response to public outrage, she was transferred to the military courts for a bogus trial. During this most recent 20 months in prison, she remained jailed with no charges and no trial the entire time.

In an interview with Wattan TV, Jarrar noted the attacks of Israeli occupation minister of internal security and strategic affairs Gilad Erdan against the Palestinian prisoners. Erdan also directs the Israeli state’s global attacks on the BDS movement and Palestine solidarity campaigns internationally. “The situation of the women prisoners is not easy, especially after the Erdan decision to transfer them from the HaSharon prison to Damon prison as a punishment for them after a 63-day protest against the installation of surveillance cameras in the prison yard. This is part of an overall attack against the prisoners,” Jarrar said.

“The occupation is trying to transfer the prisoners to make them begin their struggle from a zero point, but the prisoners continue to maintain their unity and cohesion and demand a change in their circumstances. The prisoners’ rooms are filled with moisture, and the electrical installations are very dangerous because they are wet and prone to fires. There is a real danger and a complaint has been lodged with the prison administration,” Jarrar said. “In addition to the fact that the prison yards are full of cameras, there is no library for the prisoners and there is no kitchen. The prisoners have to cook inside the rooms filled with moisture.”

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes Khalida Jarrar and the Palestinian people upon her release. Her steadfastness, leadership and clarity of vision is an inspiration to people around the world struggling for freedom. As International Women’s Day approaches, we celebrate the liberation of Khalida Jarrar and pledge to intensify our efforts to free all of the Palestinian women and men jailed by the Israeli occupation. We congratulate Khalida Jarrar on her freedom and pledge to continue on her path of struggle until the freedom of every Palestinian political prisoner behind bars, and the freedom of Palestine.