Palestinian prisoner marks 20 years in Israeli jail for activism

Palestinian prisoner marks 20 years in Israeli jail for activism
2 min read
10 July, 2021
A Palestinian prisoner is four years off from completing a 24-year prison sentence in Israeli prison for his activism, as rights groups call for an end to such incarcerations.
Hundreds of Palestinians languish in Israeli prisons over arbitrary arrests [Getty]

A Palestinian activist who is serving 24 years in prison has completed 20 years behind bars, as human rights groups continue to call for his release.

Jihad Jawdat Jarrar, from Hashemiya village in the northern West Bank area of Jenin, has spent two decades in prison and has been subjected to Israeli punishment policies, including being banned from seeing family members, according to the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS).

Jarrar was arrested on 10 July 2001 for his activism, according to PPS.

Human rights organisations have repeatedly condemned Israel's arbitrary detention policy and its targeting of young Palestinian activists.

According to prisoner support and human rights association Addameer, which follows such arrests, there are currently 5,300 political prisoners languishing in Israeli prisons, including at least 250 Palestinian child prisoners.

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Most recently, a Palestinian mad who had been held by Israel in administrative detention was released after an extensive hunger strike that gained international attention.

Amjad al-Najjar, a spokesman for the Palestinian Prisoners Club, earlier said Ghadanfar Abu Atwan, 28, will be released from an Israeli hospital in the "coming hours" and transferred to a hospital in Ramallah, where the Palestinian Authority is headquartered. 

The case drew renewed attention to administrative detention - a controversial Israeli policy in which it holds Palestinian suspects without charge for months at a time. The policy has drawn criticism from international human rights groups.

Israel employs this measure extensively and routinely, and has used it to hold thousands of Palestinians for lengthy periods of time.

While detention orders are formally reviewed, this is merely a semblance of judicial oversight, as detainees cannot reasonably mount a defence against undisclosed allegations. 

"This leaves the detainees helpless – facing unknown allegations with no way to disprove them, not knowing when they will be released, and without being charged, tried or convicted," Israeli rights group B'Tselem says.