An Israeli military court has extended the detention of prominent Palestinian activist and politician Khalida Jarrar by 48 hours and told her she faces detention without charge in an Israeli prison.
Khalida Jarrar – a member of the dormant Palestinian Legislative Council and a leading figure in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a leftist party banned by Israel – appeared in an Israeli military court on Monday.
She was arrested at her home in an overnight raid last week as the Israeli army claims she was involved in “terrorist” activity.
During a 45 minute hearing on Monday the judge decided that Jarrar’s detention should be extended by 48 hours – during which time the military area commander would look into secret files and decide whether to seek administrative detention.
Administrative detainees are arrested on “secret evidence”, unaware of the accusations against them, and are not allowed to defend themselves in court. Their detention periods can be indefinitely renewed.
Within the next ten days, the judge will have to decide whether to free her, or sentence her to detention without charge, over unspecified security concerns.
Last year Jarrar was released after a 15 month prison term – convicted of incitement and breaking travel restrictions.
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from the Ofer military prison in the occupied West Bank, said that Jarrar remains subject to a suspended sentence.
“But rather than charge her with a crime which could see that enforced … The prosecution is instead exploring the option of keeping her in prison without any charge”.
Wider policy of targeting Palestinian lawmakers
Jarrar’s lawyer says it is part of a wider policy of targeting Palestinian lawmakers – 11 of whom are currently in detention.
“The fact that these people were elected and are acting and promoting the basic rights of the Palestinian people – this is the main reason for their arrests,” human rights lawyer Sahar Francis told Al Jazeera.
“And it’s in order to affect the whole political life of the Palestinian people.”
At one point after the 2006 elections, 50 of the Legislative Council’s 132 members were in detention at the same time.
The Israeli military told Al Jazeera in a statement that, since her release, Jarrar had “returned to her activity in the PFLP terror organisation… She was apprehended for her involvement in the PFLP and not because of her membership in the legislative council”.
Jarrar’s daughter Suha told Al Jazeera she was concerned that her mother could be held for a long time without charge.
“I am worried but I’m hoping for the best because they have nothing [no evidence] against her,” she said.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies
An 18-month-old Palestinian baby has died after inhaling tear gas during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians nearly three months ago, according to Palestinian health officials.
The baby, Abdul Rahman Barghouti, died late on Friday from asphyxiation, following more than two months of treatment, Palestinian Ministry of Health spokesman Osama Najjar told Al Jazeera.
Najjar said that Barghouti was hospitalised after Israeli forces “shot tear gas into his home and room” in the occupied West Bank town of Aboud near Ramallah on May 19.
According to Palestinian news agency Wafa, clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians took place during a protest in support of Palestinian prisoners who were on hunger strike at the time.
“Soldiers … randomly fired a large volume of tear gas at civilian homes,” Wafa said.
Najjar told Al Jazeera that Israeli jeeps blocked Palestinian ambulances from reaching Barghouti and medics had to go by foot to attend to the child and bring him to a hospital in Ramallah.
Because of the seriousness of his injuries, Barghouti was transferred to Hadassah hospital in West Jerusalem. Hospital officials were not available for comment.
An Israeli army spokesman told Al Jazeera on Monday that a child “was brought from Aboud to Israel to receive medical treatment” at Haddassah Hospital on May 19.
“He was said to have been exposed to gas that risked his health. The child was treated and released from the hosptial after a week and a half,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman added that on Friday, “the child was brought by his family to the settlement of Halmish with no pulse. A paramedic in the settlement determined his death once he arrived.”
The spokesman also said that there was “no known relationship between the two cases”.
‘Misuse’ of crowd control weapons
According to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, at least 101 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in 2016, including 31 children.
Rights group Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) has documented at least nine Palestinian children who have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers so far this year.
Ayed Abu Eqtaish, accountability programme director at DCIP, told Al Jazeera that Israeli forces “continually misuse crowd-control weapons” such as tear gas.
He said the misuse of such weapons “is in violation of military regulations and international law”.
In May, a six-year-old Palestinian child was seriously injured after a tear gas canister fired by Israeli forces hit him in the back of the head.
At the time, the DCIP said in a statement that “excessive use of ‘less-lethal’ weapons and projectiles in crowded areas where children are present poses serious risks to children, especially very young children”.
The organisation documented at least seven cases between January and May 20, 2017 in which Palestinian children were injured by crowd-control weapons used by Israeli forces.
In 2015, an eight-month-old baby died from tear gas inhalation in a village near Bethlehem.
The baby suffocated after Israeli forces sprayed tear gas at Palestinians during clashes in Beit Fajjar.
In a separate incident in 2015, a 54-year-old Palestinian man died owing to inhaling excessive tear gas fired by Israeli forces in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
This article has been updated to reflect the Israeli army’s response.
Source: Al Jazeera News