On 2/4/2015 at 1:00am the IOF surrounded the house of Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Khalida Jarrar in Al-Ersal neighborhood in Ramallah. The soldiers had a sniper and they spread all over the neighborhood buildings. They raided Jarrar’s home, where she lives with her husband, after destroying the main door. They searched the house and confiscated two laptops and a mobile phone. Khalida Jarrar was arrested at approximately 3:00 am.
Jarrar was initially taken to Beit El settlement, and was later was transferred to a military camp near Jaba’ village east Jerusalem. At 7:30am she was transferred to Ofer military camp near Ramallah, where the interrogation started an hour after her arrival. The interrogation lasted for more than four hours continuously. Jarrar refused to interact with the intelligence. She remained silent and refused water and food. She was later shackled and transferred to HaSharon prison.
Khalida in summary
Khalida Jarrar is considered a major Palestinian political and civil society public figure. She was the director of Addameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association from 1994 to 2006, until she was elected as a Palestinian Legislative Council member. She then became the vice chairperson of Addameer. Khalida Jarrar is head of prisoners’ issues in the Palestinian Legislative Council and a member of the National Palestinian Committee for the follow-up of the International Criminal Court.
Jarrar was taken to HaSharon Prison and held in the section of Palestinian political female prisoners on the day of her arrest and received a 6-month administrative detention order on the same day. On 15 April 2015, the prosecution issued a list of charges against PLC member Jarrar. The charges against her revolve around her affiliation with an “illegal organization”, her role as a PLC member and political leader, and for her campaigning for prisoners.
On 8 April 2015, a hearing to review Jarrar’s administrative detention order was held. However, the session was postponed to 15 April 2015 to allow some of the material to be provided to the defense. The military prosecution stated at the hearing that it did not intend to issue a list of charges against Mrs. Jarrar because it was not convinced that the information is enough to detain Jarrar until the end of the legal procedures.
The second hearing was held on 15 April 2015, during which the defense was surprised by the military prosecution demanding the issuance of a list of charges in addition to the administrative detention order. The court postponed reviewing the confirmation of the administrative detention order to 6 May 2015. Jarrar was taken to another room until the judge reviewed the prosecution’s request, and ruled for her detention until the next hearing.
The military judge limited Jarrar’s administrative detention military order to end on 04 May 2015. Currently she is remanded until the end of her on-going trial based on the list of charges.
The first hearing to review the prosecution’s issuance of a charge sheet was held on 13 April 2015, and on this hearing the defense requested postponing the revision of the prosecution’s request until they receive a copy of all the data that formed a base for the list of charges. The hearing was postponed until 29 April 2015.
The defense team requested the postponement of the hearing because they did not receive all of the needed data from the prosecution. The military judge at Ofer military court decided to postpone the file until further notice. However, on 29 April Adv. Mahmoud Hassan was surprised by military judge Rani Amer’s decision to hold a hearing on the same day in order to set a new date, and Jarrar was brought to court despite the hearing’s previous postponement.
It should be mentioned that the military prosecution requested presenting “secret evidence” in the context of the charge sheet and that secret evidence was presented in the context of the administrative detention. This is another indicator that the military prosecution misuses its powers in a way that contradicts and violates international standards of fair trial. It also indicates the weakness of the public evidence that the prosecution has because they are concerned that this evidence will not be enough to keep Jarrar detained until the end of the legal proceedings. A hearing to review the claims of both parties regarding the prosecution’s request was held on 12 May 2015. All of the charges against Jarrar revolve around her public political work. The main charge was affiliation with the PFLP, an illegal organization according to the occupation’s military orders, participation in events that support Palestinian prisoners, visiting released prisoners as well as representation the PFLP in the Palestinian Legislative Council.
On 21 May 2015 the judge of Ofer Military Court decided to release Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar until the end of trial proceedings, on bail of 20,000 NIS and third party guarantees and gave the prosecution 72 hours to appeal the decision, as he indicated that he was convinced that the prosecution is basing the accusations on data that goes back to many years ago and that there is no justification for the prosecution’s failure to take any legal action against Mrs. Jarrar earlier. The judge also indicated that he was convinced that even in the secret file there was not adequate evidence to suggest that her release poses a security threat to the area. However, the military prosecution appealed the judge’s decision and an appeal hearing was held on 28 May 2015, where a judge decided to keep PLC member Khalida Jarrar detained until the end of trial based on secret information that neither Jarrar nor her lawyer were able to review.
Addameer expresses its utmost surprise by the military prosecution’s actions, especially after stating that they do not intend to issue a list of charges against Jarrar for the lack of sufficient evidence to keep her in detention until the end of trial proceedings. The military prosecution submitted a charge sheet that was based on political and social activity that is practiced by many representatives of the public in the world. The military prosecution appears to be using everything within its power to keep Jarrar in detention as long as possible.
Addameer believes that the decision of the appeal judge violates international fair trial standards since his decision was based on secret information that was reviewed hastily by the military prosecution and is the same information that was presented to the judge of first instance when he decided that it is not sufficient to detain Jarrar. Addameer also raises doubts as to whether the appeal judge reviewed the previous decision before accepting the appeal. In the Court of First Instance, the judge found that the charges against Mrs. Jarrar are based on activities that took place several years ago and indicated a lack of proof of the current danger from these previous activities. In his decision, Judge Balilti added that there is no justification for the prosecution’s failure to take any legal action against Mrs. Jarrar earlier. However, the appeal judge contradicted this decision without detailed reasons, stating that the prosecution’s failure to take legal action is justified and appropriate considering the secret information.
PLC member Khalida Jarrar was subjected to many obstacles imposed by the occupation forces, the most recent was a deportation order to Jericho on 20/8/2014, which was subsequently reduced after Jarrar protested the decision for a month in the Palestinian Legislative Council. In addition, Jarrar has been banned from travelling outside of the occupied Palestinian territory since 1998, except for one occasion in 2010 when she travelled to Jordan for medical treatment after long procedures and diplomatic pressure.
International solidarity with PLC member Khalida Jarrar
Addameer worked on publishing Jarrar’s case internationally through translating the charge sheet and summaries of all the hearings as well as providing legal analysis of the trial proceedings. Addameer also called on international bodies and institutions that are concerned with the issue of Palestinian prisoners and detainees in the occupation’s prisons to attend Jarrar’s hearings. This has led the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Amnesty International to issue statements demanding the release of PLC member Jarrar. In addition, a large number of diplomats and international lawyers have attended Jarrar’s hearings on a regular basis.
Jarrar suffers from multiple ischemic infarctions and hypercholesterolemia and she has been admitted to hospitalization due to epistaxis, during which she was treated to stop continuous bleeding. The transfer between court and prison, “bosta”, is a physically exhausting process. Mrs. Jarrar reported that the transfer from the prison to the court and back lasts approximately 16 hours in difficult conditions including denial of using the bathroom, claiming a lack of transfer vehicles that pass by bathrooms for women.
Khalida is married to Mr. Ghassan Jarrar, a businessman who has had a long experience in administrative detention, deportation, and interrogation. Khalida has two daughters, Yafa (28 years old) and Suha (24 years old), both completing their higher education in Canada. Both daughters are active in the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the Israeli occupation.