Israel releases Palestinian MP from detention without trial

Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar hugs a supporter shortly after her release from Israeli detention, where she was held for 20 months without trial. (AFP pic)

NABLUS: Israel on Thursday released from custody a prominent Palestinian lawmaker who had been held without trial for 20 months over links to an outlawed group, the Israeli prison service said.

Khalida Jarrar, 56, was arrested on July 2, 2017, for being a senior member in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a movement considered a terrorist organisation by Israel, the United States and the European Union.

Details of the accusations against her are secret, as is customary with Israeli administrative detention orders, which allow suspects to be held without trial for renewable six-month periods.

A legislator in the largely defunct Palestinian parliament, she was given a six-month administrative detention order shortly after her arrest that was later extended several times.

The Israeli army said after one such extension that “security personnel found she still poses a substantial threat.”

Many PFLP leaders are in custody and Jarrar has been jailed multiple times.

She had only been released in June 2016 after 14 months in an Israeli jail for allegedly encouraging attacks against Israelis.

Israel says administrative detention is intended to allow authorities to hold suspects while continuing to gather evidence, with the aim of preventing attacks in the meantime.

But the system has been criticised by Palestinians, rights groups and members of the international community who say Israel abuses the measure.