Khalida Jarrar, who was arrested for representing the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the Palestinian legislature, rejects all charges against her as trial opens in West Bank military court.
Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar, who was arrested in March and has been imprisoned ever since, plead innocent Monday as her highly-publicized trial began in the Ofer military court in the West Bank. The trial was attended by Jarrar’s family members, a number of journalists, as well as a delegation of EU diplomats who expressed their concern over her detention.
Jarrar, who serves in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has been charged with 12 counts relating to her membership in the party, which is defined by Israel as an illegal organization. Nearly all the charges have to do with Jarrar’s participation in demonstrations, interviews, speeches and visits to solidarity tents for Palestinian prisoners. Only one charge relates to incitement to kidnap Israeli soldiers, despite the fact that the witness to this charge admit that he is not sure he heard Jarrar say anything to that extent.
Jarrar’s attorneys, Mahmoud Hassan and Sahar Francis from Addameer, a Palestinian NGO that works to support Palestinian prisoners, rejected all the charges and declared that she would plead innocence on all counts. The military prosecutor, Captain Almaz Ayso, stated that the prosecution would hand over classified material to the court, which the defense will not be able to see or challenge.
Jarrar’s attorneys asked that the computers that were confiscated from Jarrar’s home near Ramallah during an army raid in March — during which she was arrested — be returned to her should no incriminating evidence be found. Ayso said that they would receive in answer in the coming days.
The short hearing ended after Hassan and Francis announced that they would file their pre-trial motions in the next few weeks, which will be followed by the presentation of evidence sometime in July. Jarrar will remain in prison during this time, after the military appeals court upheld a request to keep her in custody until the end of legal proceedings. In April she was placed in administrative detention, which means she was to be indefinitely detained without being sentenced or facing trial, but was later sentenced in the wake of a global campaign to release her.
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