Israel sentences Palestinian lawmaker to two years in prison

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Jerusalem

An Israeli military court has sentenced a prominent Palestinian lawmaker to two years in prison in a plea bargain that convicted her of belonging to an outlawed group.

But the court found insufficient evidence to press more serious charges against her, the army said Wednesday.

Khalida Jarrar, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, has been held without charge since October 2019.

Her sentence will include time served, meaning she is to be released in October.

Israel, along with the U.S. and other Western allies, considers the PFLP a terror group. Jarrar has been in and out of Israeli prison in recent years.

She was sentenced to 15 months in 2015 on charges of incitement and membership in the PFLP.

But much of that time she has been held in administrative detention, a controversial Israeli policy in which Palestinian suspects can be held for lengthy periods without charge.

In a statement Tuesday, the military said Jarrar confessed to holding a position in the PFLP from 2016 until her arrest in 2019 and in that role she received reports and other unspecified information.

Yet the statement acknowledged the case suffered from “significant evidentiary difficulties” and that Jarrar “did not deal with organizational or military aspects of the organization.”

Jarrar’s husband, Ghassan, said the sentence is “an expression of the nature of Israel’s occupation” of the Palestinian territories.

“There are no specific charges against her except that she was elected to the Legislative Council on a list that Israel rejects,“ Ghassan Jarrar said. ”It is a political persecution.”—AFP