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Palestinians call on Israel to release jailed MP Khalida Jarrar for daughter's funeral

Suha Ghassan Jarrar, 31, was found dead in her house in Ramallah after suffering a heart attack
Khalida Jarrar (R) hugs her daughter Suha, following her release from an Israeli jail, in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, on 28 February 2019 (AFP)

Palestinian rights groups on Monday called on Israel to release Khalida Jarrar, a Palestinian lawmaker and political prisoner, in order for her to attend her daughter's funeral.

Suha Jarrar
Suha Ghassan Jarrar, 31, at her office in Al-Haq  (social media)

Suha Ghassan Jarrar, 31, was found dead on Sunday evening in her house in the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian news media reported. The reports said she had died of a heart attack and had previously suffered from illnesses, without giving more details.

Suha had been working as a legal researcher at Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organisation based in Ramallah, since 2017.

In an obituary, Al-Haq said that Suha was "a fierce advocate for the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, freedom, and dignity".

In March, Khalida Jarrar was sentenced to two years in prison by an Israeli military court for "inciting violence" and belonging to a "banned organisation".

Jarrar, a prominent political activist and member of the Marxist-Leninist organisation the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was arrested at her home in Ramallah on 31 October 2019, and has since been in detention. She is slated to be released from prison in September. 

Al-Haq said that it is working with rights groups to ensure her early release "to bid farewell to her beloved daughter".

The Palestinian Legislative Council's (PLC) prisoners' committee also said that it is working alongside the Red Cross and Palestinian prisoners' rights group Addameer to pressure Israeli authorities to allow her to attend Suha's funeral.

"We hope all these efforts [to release Jarrar from prison] end with her bidding farewell to her daughter. We hope that her presence with her husband and daughter Yaffa will ease the shock and agonising tragedy," Qadri Abu Bakr, the head of the Red Cross, said in a statement. 

Palestinian activists have also circulated an online petition calling for her release. The signatories said that Jarrar has the right to take part in her daughter's funeral.

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"The Israeli regime’s prison administration should release Khalida as soon as possible so that she can bury and mourn her daughter and exercise her most fundamental human rights," the petition added.

They have also called for a protest outside Ofer military prison, where Jarrar is incarcerated, at 6pm local time to call for her release.

Twelve elected Palestinian parliamentarians, including Jarrar, are currently in Israeli prisons. The lawmaker was first arrested in 1989 and held for a month without trial. In 2014, she was arrested for a second time and sentenced to 15 months in prison. Jarrar, who was the head of the PLC's prisoners' committee between 2015 and 2017, was arrested for a third time in 2017.

She was eventually released in February 2019, before being rearrested nine months later.

 As of July, there are 5,300 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons, according to Addameer.