Palestinian Female Prisoner: Lina al-Jarbouni Longest Imprisoned

By : Ali Farkhan Tsani, Senior Editor of MINA News Agency

Lina Ahmed al-Jarbouni, born November 1, 1974, is the longest-serving Palestinian female prisoner in the Israeli occupation prison, at 15 years. Two years reduced from 17 years in prison.

Lina is a female warrior from Arrabeh, a city in the historic Palestinian Galilee region. She had been imprisoned since April 18, 2002 when he was 28 years old. She was only released April 16, 2017, when she reached the age of 43.

Lina was arrested and imprisoned on charges of providing support to the Palestinian resistance movement and membership of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement.

When captured by Israeli troops, she was working at a tailoring shop to help support her family, including helping her parents.

Israeli troops searched in her workplace with sniffer dogs at 2:00 am. Troops claim they were looking for drugs.

Lina was arrested and held under interrogation for 40 days. Her sister, Lamis, was also arrested by Israeli forces and reported her own torture under interrogation before she was released.

Lina Al-Jarbouni was born into a large family of 18 siblings including herself, with 9 sisters and 8 brothers. Her father Haji Ahmad Al-Jarbouni had two wives.

Her father and grandfather are both political prisoners in Israeli prisons. Her uncle was also jailed for 14 years for his participation in the Lebanese resistance against the Israeli occupation.

Lina received her primary, preparatory and secondary education at a village school. She completed her secondary education in literature in 1992. However, her family’s financial situation prevented him from continuing his college studies.

Arrabeh, her village, witnessed mass demonstrations and fierce clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli occupation forces during the Second Intifada.

At one such protest in October 2000, two teenagers were shot dead by police. The Second Intifada had a profound effect on Lina.

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In her village, in Arrabeh and other parts of the Galilee, in March 1976, there was a general strike. The action was declared in opposition to Israel’s massive annexation of Palestinian land. Israeli troops opened fire at the protest, killing six Palestinians at the time.

“The people of Arrabeh have always been involved in the Palestinian cause and have never hesitated to make sacrifices for this cause,” Lina said. As quoted from The Prisoners Diaries, April 17 2017, after his release.

“I realized that I could not simply be a silent witness to the injustices that befell my people. I have to fight it actively,” she continued.

Since Arabeh was located in the territory of present-day Israel, Lina officially became a citizen of Israel. But even so, his Palestinian identity “is never in doubt.”

“I learned that all Palestinians are under occupation, regardless of their identity cards. It doesn’t matter whether you live in the Galilee, the West Bank, Gaza or a refugee camp in exile. We are all Palestinians, and resistance is our only option.”

Message from Prison

The Palestinian Prisoners Solidarity Network, Samidoun, expressed his respect and pride for Lina al-Jarbaoni, who has always been at the forefront of the struggle. She is always involved in hunger strikes, organizing prisoners and even protests in prison.

Lina was thrown into solitary confinement without proper medical treatment for the illness she was suffering from at the time.

When she was in prison, it was not like now in the era of sophisticated smartphones. She could only get to know his nieces and nephews through the photos his family sent him during his visit.

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The new technology leading up to his release, even confused him. She was once sent a smartphone by her sister, but she didn’t know how to use it.

Lina, only heard about social media in 2015, through a female prisoner who had just entered at the time. She was introduced to the concept by a younger female prisoner at HaSharon prison.

The saddest thing while in prison was when he was told that his sister, Wasila, who was 48 years old, was hospitalized. Israeli authorities prevented Lina from visiting her sister in hospital.

Even when Wasila died, Lina was also not allowed to attend her funeral.

When she was released, on Palestine Prisoner’s Day April 17 2017, he echoed his message, “On Prisoner’s Day, I greet the Palestinian people and all free people in the world. Hundreds of female prisoners behind bars still stand firm in the struggle, along with the sons of our people. We want to show that Palestinian women are fighting against the occupation and fighting for social justice, emancipation and equality in all areas of life.”

“On this day, we salute the longest-serving prisoner Karim Younis, and all prisoners throughout Palestine, and the national Palestinian prisoners movement. We also pay our respects to male and female prisoners, sick prisoners and those in solitary confinement and all our steadfast people,” she said, as reported by The Palestinian Information Center (PIC) at the time.

She emphasized that his body and that of fellow Palestinian prisoners were indeed being held behind bars. “But our souls, thoughts and beliefs are free. Our freedom remains within our hope, and our belief in Palestinian freedom,” she said optimistically.

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In a brief interview with Asra Voice Radio after her release, Lina al-Jarbouni urged all Palestinians to unite in fighting for the prisoners.

She is an elected representative of Palestinian female prisoners at HaSharon prison for her defense of the right of Palestinian girls to get an education in prison.

According to a Wikipedia source, Lina was chosen by the Palestinian Ministry of Women’s Affairs as the 2015 Woman of the Year.

A human rights source said that after her release Lina was still suffering from various tumors on her body, and pain in her legs, in addition to constant headaches. There was willful medical negligence through the administration of drugs by the occupation prison authorities, her family said.

Keep struggling

During 15 years in prison, it did not deter him from voicing the resistance of his people and his nation, Palestine.

On June 22, 2017, about two months after her release, the Israeli occupation police summoned Lina al-Jarbouni for questioning.

A source said he was questioned several times for more than two hours over the humanitarian work he carried out after his release.

“Israeli intelligence wanted to tell us that we were always under his control,” his brother said. As reported by Palinfo.

“I have experienced a similar investigation while visiting my sister in prison. We are used to such actions which do not frighten us,” she added.

“God willing, the issue of prisoners of Palestinian fighters in Israeli occupation prisons will always be on my mind. I will work even harder to convey their voice to the world,” said Lina excitedly.

On a personal level he was determined to continue his college studies to support his struggle. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)