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  • Demonstrator holds a poster of Heba Al-Labadi and other Palestinian prisoners during a protest in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

    Demonstrator holds a poster of Heba Al-Labadi and other Palestinian prisoners during a protest in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 November 2019

Al-Labadi, 24, was arrested by the Israeli forces on Aug. 20 at Allenby Bridge border crossing as she was traveling with her mother to attend a wedding in the West Bank. 

Israel will release “before the end of the week” Heba Al-Labadi and Abdul Rahman Miri, two Jordanians citizens held without charges and for over two months in Israel, according to Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.

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Safadi said on Twitter that the Jordanian government “pursued the case from the start under direct instructions from His Majesty King Abdullah to take all necessary steps to release them whatever that may cost." 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the handover was agreed after talks between Israeli and Jordanian security chiefs. 

Al-Labadi, 24, was arrested by the Israeli forces on Aug. 20 at Allenby Bridge border crossing (a bridge that connects the West Bank with Jordan) as she was traveling with her mother to attend a wedding in the West Bank. 

In prison, she was tortured and interrogated for hours and 16 days straight while handcuffed and tied to a chair. She was not allowed to see her family or a lawyer. 

Some 35 days following her arrest, without a trial or any charge, an Israeli military court issued five-month administrative detention against her. As a result, she began an open-ended hunger strike against and suffered from a grave deterioration of her health.

While Miri, 29, was arrested last September after he also crossed into the West Bank to visit relatives. He has suffered from brain cancer for nine years and has gone through numerous surgeries.

The more than two months-long detention without charges for the two citizens led Jordan to recall its ambassador. The statement said he would return to his post “in the coming days.”

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Jordan said the two citizens had been illegally arrested without charge while Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said last week the two were suspected of security offenses without being more specific or offering proof.

Israel generally uses “administrative detention” to detain indefinitely Palestinians without charge or trial. This kind of detention order is reviewed every six months but the detainees are not told what crimes they are being accused of, which makes enables them to defend themselves.

The Israeli government says the measure - which is condemned by human rights groups - is aimed at preventing further violence in cases where there is insufficient evidence to prosecute or where court proceedings could expose the identity of secret informants.

Safadi said last month he held the Israeli government responsible for the lives of the two detainees, adding that their health had severely deteriorated and warned the kingdom could escalate its actions if they were not released.

In announcing the decision to release Al Labadi and Miri, the Israeli statement said Israel viewed its relations with Jordan as “a cornerstone of stability in the Middle East." The two countries signed a peace treaty in 1994 whose 25th anniversary is this month.

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