Israeli Military Court Sentences Palestinian Lawmaker to 15 Months in Jail

Khalida Jarrar, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, plead guilty to 12 counts, including incitement to kidnap Israeli soldiers, after a trial her lawyers called illegitimate and unfair.
December 7, 2015, 5:20pm
Photo by Mejdi Mohammed/AP

Palestinian legislator Khalida Jarrar was sentenced to 15 months in jail on Monday by an Israeli military court in the West Bank, making her the sixth member of the Palestinian Legislative Council currently in Israeli detention.

The sentence was part of a plea bargain that saw Jarrar convicted on 12 counts, including belonging belonging to an illegal organization, violating a travel ban, and incitement to kidnap Israeli soldiers. She is a longtime member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a leftwing group that's a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), and is also considered a terrorist organization by the US and Israel.

Jarrar has been a high profile advocate for using the International Criminal Court to prosecute alleged Israeli war crimes, and she's been critical of cooperation between Palestinian security forces and Israel.

"She doesn't expect [to receive] any justice from the court of the occupation," Jarrar's attorney, Mahmoud Hassan said on Monday after the deal was announced. Jarrar accepted the plea deal, her lawyer said, because she did not expect the trial to end without a conviction.

Related: 1,200 Israeli Troops Raid Palestinian Refugee Camp to Destroy a Single Home

Police had stormed Jarar's West Bank home on April 2 in a pre-dawn raid, and placed her under house arrest. Israel repeatedly delayed her trial, and international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, criticized her long detention, and the use of secret evidence during her military trail.

Ever since her arrest, the Israeli military has said she poses "substantial security risks."

Eleven out of 12 of the charges against Jarrar involve activities linked to her work as a Palestinian parliamentarian — including giving media interviews, and meeting with released Palestinian prisoners. The charge of incitement rests upon the testimony of a Palestinian prisoner who say they heard Jarrar encourage the kidnapping of soldiers at a rally in 2012.

Jarrar is vice-chairwoman of the Palestinian prisoner advocacy group Addameer, which said the charges against her are "vengeful, arbitrary and political, with an aim to punish [Jarrar] her for her political opinions and activism for Palestinian human rights."

Related: Israel Suspends EU Role in Peace Process With Palestinians

Jarrar became the first woman from the PFLC to be elected to the Palestinian parliament in January 2006. Before that she'd spent over a decade as a high profile advocate for prisoners rights.

Arab Israeli lawmakers criticized Jarrar's detention as politically motivated. "The decision of the occupation authorities to jail a member of parliament because of her political stance, and after eight months of administrative detention, proves that the Israeli government is bent on aggravating the escalation," Aida Touma-Suliman, a member of the Israeli Knesset for the Joint List, said. "Her place is not in prison, it is in the parliament."

Immediately after Jarrar's arrest, Suliman contacted the Public Security Ministry and demanded to meet with the prisoner.

Watch VICE News' documentary _Occupation: Voices from the West Bank: _