Friday, 11 August 2017

Demand freedom for Khalida Jarrar and Khitam Saafin Now

Prominent leftist leader, feminist, human rights defender and Member of the Palestinian parliament Khalida Jarrar and Khilam Saafin, president of the Union of Palestinian Women's Committes and prominent struggler for the liberation of Palestinian women and the Palestinian have currently been held without being charged or tried for 36 days. They both face indefinite detention without charge or trial.
The ‘arrest’ of the two women should be seen in light of the Israeli policy to deprive the Palestinian people of its leadership. In Palestine and internationally, there has  already been a furious response. Their administrative detention orders can be renewed indefinitely and with no prior notice.
They  have been held without charge or trial since 2 July. According to Addameer Association’s lawyers who represent both women, the Israel military commander issued a three-month administrative detention order against Khitam Saafin on 9 July. The decision was confirmed by a military judge on 12 July. Khalida Jarrar, who is an elected parliamentarian, was given a six-month administrative detention order on 12 July and a military judge confirmed the decision on 18 July. Although six months is the maximum period of detention for each order, they can be renewed indefinitely.
Both women were arrested by Israeli soldiers during pre-dawn raids on their homes on 2 July. According to eyewitnesses, at 3:30am that day, between 40 and 50 armed Israeli soldiers conducted a raid on Khitam Saafin's home in Beitunia, a neighbourhood of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, in order to arrest her. On the same morning at around 4am, a similar Israeli military raid was carried out to arrest Khalida Jarrar in her home in Ramallah. In the raid, the soldiers also confiscated Khalida Jarrar’s phone, tablet and the hard drive of her home computer.
Both women were first held in Ofer military compound near Ramallah and then transferred to HaSharon prison inside Israel in the afternoon of 2 July. The transfer of both women to HaSharon prison violates international humanitarian law; detainees from occupied territories must be detained in the occupied territory, and not in the territory of the occupying power. Israeli authorities accuse each woman of membership in an illegal organisation, claims they both deny.
As with all cases of administrative detention, the “evidence” against Khalida Jarrar and Khitam Saafin is secret, and neither they nor their lawyers are allowed to review it. This violates a central tenet of fair trial standards.
Khitam Saafin, aged 54, is the president of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees, an organization that works for community-based economic and social development of women in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. She has been an outspoken activist for Palestinian women’s economic, national, and social liberation for decades who has spoken internationally and participated in many worldwide events, including the World Social Forum, linking women’s struggles internationally with the struggle of Palestinian women for national and social liberation.
Khalida Jarrar, aged 54, is an elected Palestinian parliamentarian and outspoken critic of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and Palestinian security cooperation with the Israeli military. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Addameer Association, a human rights organization, and an appointed member of the Palestinian Higher National Committee to Follow-up with the International Criminal Court. She has been a strong advocate for the rights of Palestinian prisoners and their families. She has been subjected to decades of harassment and intimidation by the Israeli authorities, including a travel ban imposed since 1998. The ban was lifted once for a couple of days in 2010 to allow her to travel for medical testing in Jordan for a serious chronic medical issue that she continues to suffer from. Israeli authorities have repeatedly declared her a security risk, but did not charge her with any criminal offence until April 2015. On 2 April 2015, she was arrested by Israeli soldiers at her home in Ramallah, and placed under administrative detention. On 15 April 2015, at the review hearing of her administrative detention order, the military prosecution brought 12 charges against her relating to membership of the banned political party Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and incitement to kidnap Israeli soldiers. She has vehemently denied this accusation and her lawyers have claimed that it has no basis. Following an unfair trial in an Israeli military court, Khalida Jarrar was convicted of four of the charges, including incitement. She served 14 months in prison and was released in June 2016 with a five-year suspended sentence.
Israel’s use of administrative detention of Palestinians is widespread and has led to mass hunger strikes by Palestinian detainees and prisoners, protesting against the conditions in which they are held and being detained without charge. Administrative detention, ostensibly introduced as an exceptional measure to detain people who pose an extreme and imminent danger to security is used by Israel as an alternative to the criminal justice system to arrest, charge and prosecute people suspected of criminal offences, or to detain people who should not have been arrested at all. Although six months is the maximum period of detention for each order, they can be renewed indefinitely and Amnesty International believes that some Palestinians held in administrative detention by Israel are prisoners of conscience, held solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and association.
According to Israeli NGO, HaMoked—Center for the Defence of the Individual, Israel is holding 465 administrative detainees without charge or trial as of August 2017.For decades now Israel has used its cruel administrative policies to trample over the rights o Palestinian detainees. Instead o indefinitely detaining Palestinians without charge or trial, I believe Israel should end its use of administrative  detention, which inflicts huge emotional suffering on detainees and their families, placing them in a permanent state of uncertainty.

The arrests of Khalida and Khiltam represent an attack on the political activity and popular organization of the Palestinian people and a blatant assault on the Palestinians women's movement. Therefore, it is necessary that the people of the world support and demand their immediate release, and all the thousands of Palestinian prisoners  of conscience behind Israeli jails.
The Palestinian people have the right to struggle against the occupation of their land and to use all means available under international law for their lives and their country.Israel must end illegal detentions, and all detainees must be charged and have access to a fair trial.
For a Free Palestine!  Solidarity with Palestinian women and the Palestinian people! From the rivers to the sea Palestine will be free.

Please write immediately in English, Hebrew or your own language calling on the Israeli authorities to:

Immediately release Khitam Saafin and Khalida Jarrar and all other administrative detainees or to promptly charge them with an internationally recognizable criminal offense and bring them to trial in conformity with international trial standards;Take immediate steps to end the practice of administrative detention.


Minister of Defence
Avigdor Leiberman
Ministry of Defence
37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya
Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
Fax: +972 3 691 6940

Salutation: Dear Minister

Commander of the IDF – West Bank
Major-General Roni Numa
GOC Central Command
Military Post 02367, Battalion 877
Israel Defence Forces, Israel
Fax: +972 2 530 5741, +972 2 530 5724

Salutation: Dear Major-General Roni Numa

And copies to:
Minister of Public Security
Gilad Erdan
Kiryat Hamemshala
PO Box 18182
Jerusalem 91181, Israel
Fax: +972 2 584 7872

Salutation: Dear Minister

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

2 Palace Green Kensington W8 4QB, 020 7957 9500

There is also a petition one could sign here :-

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