Hunger-striking Jordanian woman in Israeli prison moved to clinic

AFP , Friday 1 Nov 2019

Demonstration in Ramallah
A demonstrator holds a picture of Jordanian citizen Hiba Labadi during a protest calling for the release of Labadi and Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, in Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, October 31, 2019. (Reuters)

A Jordanian woman held by Israel without charge since August and on hunger strike in protest has been moved from her cell to a medical facility, Israel Prison Service said Friday.

"The female security prisoner under administrative detention, a Jordanian citizen who is on hunger strike, was the IPS medical centre," it said in a Hebrew-language statement.

It said the move was for "continued observation and medical care" but did not describe her condition or say when it took place.

The Palestinian Authority's detainees commission confirmed in a statement that Hiba al-Labdi, 24, was transferred on Friday -- the 39th day of her hunger strike which has left her in poor health.

Labdi is one of two Jordanians held by Israel at the centre of a diplomatic row between the neighbouring countries.

Amman announced on Tuesday that it had recalled its ambassador in Israel over the country's refusal to free them.

According to Jordan, Labdi and Abdelrahman Merhi, 28, were arrested at a crossing between Jordan and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority says that Labdi was detained on August 20 at the Allenby Bridge crossing and Merhi was seized there on September 2.

Israel has not given reasons for their detention but Israeli newspaper Haaretz says that Israeli authorities suspect her of "contact with a foreign agent and supporting terrorism".

Since their arrests, Jordanian authorities have repeatedly called for their release, a demand Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi repeated on Tuesday.

"In view of Israel's refusal to respond to our persistent requests to release Jordanian nationals Hiba al-Labdi and Abdelrahman Merhi and the continuation of their illegal and inhumane detention, we have recalled our ambassador in Tel Aviv for consultations," Safadi said in a statement.

According to the Palestinian Authority, Merhi is suffering from cancer.

Jordanian media reported that he and Labdi had travelled to the West Bank to attend relatives' marriages.

Israel has not commented on the recall of Jordan's ambassador.

Later Tuesday the Jordanian foreign ministry announced the arrest of an unidentified Israeli man "who entered the kingdom in an illegal manner via the northern border".

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