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Israel PM confirms 2 Jordan prisoners will be released

Protest against Israel's arrest of Palestinian prisoner, Heba Al-Labadi
Protest against Israel's arrest of Heba Al-Labadi on 21 October 2019 [Twitter]

The two Jordanian nationals who are currently held in Israeli administrative detention are expected to return home by the weekend, confirmed Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday.

This comes after the Israeli Foreign Ministry warned the government and security services that the arrest and administrative detention of two Jordanian citizens, who are of Palestinian descent, could lead to a diplomatic crisis with Jordan.

Jordan also recalled its ambassador to Israel, Ghassan Majali, last week to protest the pair's administrative detention, a system that allows Israeli authorities to stop and hold people without charge or the possibility of appeal for prolonged periods.

Israeli occupation authorities arrested Heba Al-Labadi on 20 August and Abdul Rahman Miri on 12 September at the border crossing between Jordan and the Israeli-occupied West Bank and held them in administrative detention without charge or trial.

READ: Israel FM warns of diplomatic crisis with detained citizens

Despite having not been charged, 24-year-old Al-Labadi was reportedly subjected to physical torture which included shackling her hands and legs to a small chair and positioned her body to slant forward so that the detainee cannot sit in a stable position. This has left her deprived of sleep.

Al-Labadi also explained to Hanan Al-Khatib, a lawyer at the Commission of Detainees Affairs, that she was interrogated for 20 consecutive hours during the first 16 days of her detention and said that she was given only two breaks for meals every day.

Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely, said last week the two were suspected of security offences, without being more specific.

In protest against her illegal detention, Al-Labadi launched an open hunger strike over a month ago and was transferred to hospital twice before being returned to prison due to her deteriorating health, according to the Prisoner's Club, a group that mainly advocates for Palestinian prisoners.

READ: Jordan, Israel mark anniversary of peace treaty amid weak relations

Meanwhile, Miri has been battling cancer since 2010 and needs regular medical check-ups, according to the PA Prisoners Affairs Commission.

Netanyahu's office said the handover was agreed after talks between Israeli and Jordanian security chiefs. It said Jordan's ambassador, who was recalled on Tuesday, would return to his post "in the coming days".

Israel's prison service said yesterday that Al-Labadi had ended her hunger strike.

Following the announcement of the release, the Israeli statement said Israel viewed its relations with Jordan as "a cornerstone of stability in the Middle East".

Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in October 1994.

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