Palestinian mother Anhar al-Deek to be released today following global outcry

Palestinian mother Anhar al-Deek will be released today, Thursday, 2 September, from Damon prison to house arrest in her family home in Kafr Nima, near Ramallah in occupied Palestine, Palestinian lawyers announced. Anhar, 25, is in her ninth month of pregnancy and due to give birth at any time, for which she requires a Caesarean section. A widespread Palestinian, Arab and international outcry preceded the decision for her release, which still imposes significant conditions and unjust penalties upon her, indicating the power of massive pressure on the Israeli occupation to release Palestinian detainees. The Israeli military and civil courts provide no justice for Palestinians — it is only through action and mobilization that Palestinian prisoners may obtain their liberation.

Palestinian lawyer Akram Samara, who represents al-Deek, said that she was ordered released by the Ofer military court. Her family must pay a financial bail of 40,000 NIS ($12,500 USD) and she will be held under house arrest in her family home. Thousands of Palestinians, Arabs and international supporters of Palestine protested and raised her case on social media and to government officials, especially after her letter was released from Israeli prison. In her letter, al-Deek wrote about the conditions she would face after birth, isolated and imprisoned with her newborn son, without her husband and her mother:

I miss Julia, my beloved daughter, so deeply. My heart cries for her, wishing I can hug her and hold her in my heart. The pain in my heart cannot be expressed.

What can I do if I have to give birth away from you, shackled? You know what it is like to go through a Caesarean delivery outside of prison. How will it be to go through it chained inside the prison?

I am so tired and have severe pain…I do not know how I will take my first steps after the surgery, when the jailer holds my arm with disgust…How can I protect the baby from the terrifying jailers?

I ask all free and honorable people of conscience to act, even by raising a word!…

Al-Deek was seized by Israeli occupation forces on 8 March 2021 — International Women’s Day — when she was four months pregnant. With only a small fruit knife in her possession, she was accused of attempting to stab an Israeli illegal settler.

Throughout her imprisonment and her pregnancy, she has experienced severe physical and mental health symptoms and was diagnosed with bipolar depression. Rather than receiving the support and medical care that she needs and the presence of her loved ones, she was thrown into the Israeli military legal system. During her imprisonment, the Israeli occupation did not permit al-Deek family visits with her husband and baby daughter, Julia. Her husband was able to see her three months ago during the military court, and her brother said that he saw his sister five months ago in another military court hearing.

Anhar is currently among 40 fellow Palestinian women prisoners held in Israeli jails, out of a total of 4,750 Palestinian political prisoners. Eleven of the detained women are mothers separated from their children by the Israeli occupation; just last month, Palestinian political leader and feminist Khalida Jarrar was denied early release or even the opportunity to see her daughter’s body after the untimely death of her daughter, Palestinian activist and human rights defender Suha Jarrar.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network joins Anhar al-Deek’s family, loved ones, the Palestinian people and people of conscience around the world in welcoming her and her beloved child home. At the same time, we warn of the need to continue to monitor her case closely, especially given that she has not yet arrived home with her loved ones. She has experienced an extremely traumatic pregnancy, while the Israeli occupation continues to impose unjust and onerous conditions upon her. 

Her case also highlights the importance of Palestinian, Arab and international mobilization to highlight the daily injustices of Israeli political imprisonment and the steadfastness and resistance of Palestinian political prisoners. Freedom for all Palestinian prisoners, and all of Palestine, from the river to the sea!