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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 26 March 2019

Israel frees Palestinian MP held for almost two years without charge

Khalida Jarrar was held in administrative detention, a controversial and secretive Israeli policy

File photo of Khalida Jarrar, a Palestinian Member of Parliament from Ramallah, who was held without trial by Israeli authorities for 20 months. Reuters
File photo of Khalida Jarrar, a Palestinian Member of Parliament from Ramallah, who was held without trial by Israeli authorities for 20 months. Reuters

The family of a Palestinian politician says Israeli authorities have released Khalida Jarrar after 20 months of holding her in detention without raising charges.

The lawmaker's husband, Ghassan Jarrar, says she was freed on Thursday. She was released hours earlier than expected to prevent a celebratory reception.

The 56-year-old Khalida Jarrar was held under "administrative detention," an Israeli policy that permits holding people for months at a time without charges.

Her family was informed that her detention would not be extended unless new information came to light.

In 2015, she served 15 months after being convicted of incitement to violence and "promoting terror activities".

A senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, she was arrested again in July 2017 and held since then. She was initially scheduled to be released last October, but her detention was then extended another four months.

She served two stints of six months and two of four months.

Since her dentition began, the Palestinian parliament has been dissolved due to internal strife.

Israel had banned her from leaving the West Bank since 1998.

Palestinian officials have for months lobbied for her release. Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the PLO Executive Committee, called for Israel to set her free earlier this month.

“Free Khalida Jarrar. She is a remarkable leader and decent human being,” he wrote on Twitter on February 16.

She has been a prominent advocate of Palestinian prisoner rights and said upon her release that she will continue to work for the release of all Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli facilities.

Updated: February 28, 2019 04:03 PM

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