Jordan recalls ambassador to Tel Aviv over two arrested citizens

Jordan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates has recalled its ambassador to Tel Aviv after Israeli authorities refused to release two Jordanian citizens, who were lately arrested after crossing the kingdom into the occupied West Bank.

“In view of Israel’s refusal to respond to our persistent requests to release Jordanian nationals Heba (Abdel-Baqi) al-Labdi and Abdurrahman Marei, and the continuation of their illegal and inhumane detention, we have recalled our ambassador in Tel Aviv (Walid Obeidat) for consultations,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We hold Israel completely responsible for the security of our citizens and we will continue to take all political, legal and diplomatic measures to guarantee their safe return,” he added.

The top Jordanian diplomat also accused Israel of “endangering their lives because their health had deteriorated.”

Labadi holds a Palestinian identity card. She was arrested on August 20, when she crossed the King Hussein Bridge, also known as the Allenby Bridge, which crosses the Jordan River near the Palestinian city of Ariha and connects the West Bank with Jordan, with her mother and aunt on their way to a relative’s wedding in the northern West Bank city of Jenin.

According to her attorney, Raslan Mahajna, she is suspected of meeting with people affiliated to the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah during trips to Beirut both last year and early this year.

Mahajna added that Labadi often voices her views against the Israeli regime’s occupation of Palestinian territories on social media networks.

“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,” he said.

“She’s been on hunger strike, because in her view, this was an arbitrary, unjustified arrest.”

Labadi is reportedly being held at Kishon prison, also known as the al-Jalame detention center.

Arabic-language Arabi 21 online newspaper reported that Marei was arrested on September 2 as he was going to attend the wedding of a relative in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

The 29-year-old man, a resident of the Abu al-Zayegan area in the central Jordanian city of Zarqa, had traveled with his mother through the King Hussein Bridge.

His family said they have not been able to contact him since his arrest, and have not been told the reason for his detention. Marei is said to be suffering from cancer. His relatives are concerned his medical condition will deteriorate in jail.


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