Jordan urges Israel to free citizens detained while entering the occupied West Bank

The Jordanian government has urged Israel to release two of its citizens detained while entering the occupied West Bank, reported Haaretz.

According to the paper, Jordan’s Foreign Ministry “delivered an official objection to Israel’s acting ambassador in Amman on Sunday”.

The two individuals have been identified as Heba Abdel-Baqi Al-Labadi and Abdurrahman Marei, both of whom were reportedly arrested at the Allenby Bridge crossing on their way to the West Bank.

Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sufian Qudah said the Jordanian Embassy in Tel Aviv has demanded that the pair be released and held in adequate conditions until that happens.

According to Haaretz, “Abdel-Baqi, a Jordanian citizen who also holds a Palestinian identity card, is suspected of contact with a foreign agent and supporting terrorism”. She was detained on 20 August en route to a relative’s wedding in Jenin with her mother and aunt.

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Abdel-Baqi’s lawyer, Raslan Mahajna, says she is suspected of meeting with people identified with Hezbollah during trips to Beirut. However, the lawyer said, Abdel-Baqi simply met once with an announcer from a Hezbollah-owned radio station, while visiting her sister in Beirut.

“She was interrogated intensively for 35 days, and in the end, there was no basis for indicting her, so she was slapped with an administrative detention order,” Mahajna said. “She’s been on hunger strike for 13 days, because in her view, this was an arbitrary, unjustified arrest.”

Abdel-Baqi’s family has asked the Jordanian government to intervene in her case, noting that she has never been involved in “terrorism”, and in fact worked as a bank clerk in the United Arab Emirates until a few months ago.  

Meanwhile, Marei was arrested on 2 September while en route to a wedding in Nablus.  

“His mother was told he would be held for questioning for a few days, and he has been under arrest ever since. His family has not been told the reason for his detention,” Haaretz said, adding that “his relatives said he has cancer, and they are concerned his medical condition will deteriorate in jail.”