Palestinian-Jordanian citizen, Heba Al-Labadi, was taken to a hospital in Haifa on October 28 for treatment following a decline in her health, according to the Jordanian foreign ministry. Al-Labadi has been on hunger strike for the last 35 days to protest her illegal administrative detention since her arrest on August 20 by Israeli authorities. The ministry also reported that Al-Labadi was returned to the Al-Damon prison the same day.
Jordanian ministry spokesperson, Sufyan Al-Qudah, in a statement, said that Al-Labadi’s condition was now stable and that the Jordanian foreign ministry had asked Israel to extend the necessary healthcare to Al-Labadi. Al-Labadi’s father, Ahmed Al-Labadi, told Quds press that his daughter was experiencing severe heart-related and chest pains, in addition to other symptoms of physical deterioration.
Al-Labadi was arrested by Israeli authorities on August 20 at the Allenby Bridge border crossing when she was traveling with her mother from Jordan to attend a family wedding in Jenin, in the West Bank. Following her arrest, Al-Labadi was subjected to extreme torture during her interrogation and was not allowed to see her family or speak to a lawyer.
The Israeli authorities did not charge her with any crimes to justify her arrest and detained her without charge or trial for 33 days. Subsequently, an Israeli military court slapped her with a 5 month administrative detention order after which she was transferred to the Al-Damon prison. Al-Labadi then decided to launch an open-ended hunger strike demanding an end to her administrative detention.
According to reports, during her interrogation, Al-Labadi was tied to a chair while being handcuffed and interrogators spit on her and abused her. They also threatened to arrest her mother and sister. Al-Labadi’s lawyer, Juwad Bolous told local media that “All the means of torture and oppression were used to force her to sign a damning confession. But despite the cruel investigation, she did not confess.” Al-Labadi strongly rejects any allegations against her while Israeli domestic intelligence agency, Shin Bet, has not revealed the reasons for her arrest or the allegations against her. A statement from the agency stated that she was arrested under ‘severe security circumstances’.
Local media has reported that Al-Labadi might have been arrested for her posts on Facebook allegedly expressing support to Hezbollah. On Monday, 28 October, judges at the military court at the Ofer Prison near Ramallah heard an appeal for the release of Al-Labadi by her lawyers. Her attorney Raslan Mahajna told local media that judges would make their decision after consulting with the Shin Bet. During the court proceedings, dozens gathered outside to protest and demand Al-Labadi’s release.
For the last several days across Historic Palestine and the West Bank, activists have organized several protest actions to raise awareness about Al-Labadi’s case and to demand an end to her illegal detention. On Saturday, Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem marched on the Salah a-Din street but were met with a brutal crackdown by Israeli police who arrested two protesters and physically assaulted and removed others.
A 30 hour long protest also took place the next day on Sunday in Tel Aviv’s Habima square. Several women activists sat handcuffed to a chair in a transparent box to simulate Al-Labadi’s interrogation cell during the protest.
An internet campaign in Arabic and Hebrew called ‘Have you heard of me?’ was also launched by activists with Al-Labadi’s photo to draw attention to her plight.
There are currently 22 Jordanian prisoners in Israeli detention. Another notable case is that of Abdulrahman Mar’i, a Jordanian prisoner who is suffering from cancer and needs regular medical checkups and treatment while in detention.