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Detention of Labadi, Meri draws attention to plight of prisoners in Israel

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Oct 16,2019 - Last updated at Oct 16,2019

AMMAN — There is currently a total of 22 Jordanians jailed in Israeli prisons, some of whom have received a life sentence and others who were sentenced to over 20 years, according to figures from the National Committee for Prisoners in Israel. 

Jordanian detainees Heba Abdul Baqi Labadi and Abdulrahman Adnan Abdullah Meri have recently become the focus of public opinion and social media outlets, with the government and many organisations and institutions calling for their release. 

"Heba and Abdulrahman underwent administrative detention, which means they were detained arbitrarily and investigated, without actual charges," Fadi Farah, the committee's spokesperson, told The Jordan Times on Tuesday. 

"Abdulrahman suffers from cancer, and he needs special medical care, even if they finish their treatment sessions," Farah said over the phone. 

Meri, consequently, developed a skin problem and lost his hair. He was then sentenced to a four-month detention, the spokesperson said.

He added that Meri was going to attend a wedding with his family but that Israeli occupation forces put him in administrative detention, and that Labadi faces the same situation. 

The two youths are undergoing the same torture and horrendous treatment as the rest of the detainees, who also suffer from ill-treatment by Israeli forces, Farah said.

Labadi remained under investigation for 35 days, during which she received many threats and horrible treatment that caused her to lose 10 kilogrammes, according to Farah. 

"Now, she is in her 22nd day of a hunger strike, which she started right after receiving the news that she will be placed in administrative detention for five months," Farah said.

A court session will be held on October 23 for Meri, who stated that if he is not released afterwards, he will also start a hunger strike, according to the spokesperson.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it is following up, and yet there is nothing tangible, honestly, although in such cases where citizens did not do anything wrong, pressure techniques must be used to protest against detaining Jordanians without any viable charges," Farah concluded. 

Head of the Lower House’s Public Freedoms and Human Rights Committee MP Awad Zawaideh on Monday stressed the importance of continued follow-up on the affairs of Jordanians abroad. 

Zawaideh made his remarks during a meeting with Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, called for by the committee upon the request of MPs to discuss the issue of Jordanians arrested in foreign countries, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

The MP urged the swift release of Jordanian detainees across the globe, in particular, Abdulrahman Meri and Heba Labadi.

On Wednesday, youth and political party activists will stage a sit-in in  support of Labadi and Meri as well as all Jordanian and Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, which will be held in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross at 5:30pm, according to the Facebook event page and the organisers. 

The organisers, comprising members of several political parties, said that they hold the Jordanian government “fully responsible” for taking the necessary measures to protect the detainees from torture and violations. 

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