Mr. Michel Forst.
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.
Subject: A briefing note urging you to immediately intervene to release arbitrary detainees from the Palestinian Authority against the background of political opinion and activity.
The International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights (ICSPR)is highly appreciate your keenness to intervene in order to defend human rights values, and the citizens’ enjoyment of these universally guaranteed rights, including the right to freedom of opinion and expression, political pluralism, freedom of peaceful assembly and the prevention of arrest Arbitrary, torture and degrading treatment of human dignity, and accordingly, we are addressing you today and urgently to call for immediate and urgent intervention now, by doing more efforts individually and / or collectively with people of international law, by taking practical and immediate measures aimed at putting an end to violations The Palestinian Authority and its security apparatus against Palestinian citizens in the West Bank, which has accelerated its pace recently as a result of the suppression, arrest, and summoning of the security and police agencies of the citizens of the political leaders and supporters of the democratic reform movement in the Fatah movement, which is headed by the leader and deputy in the Legislative Council Muhammad Dahlan.
According to the field and human rights follow-up of the ICSPR, we have monitored and documented a large number of continuous violations that have been and are still being committed by the security services in the West Bank, against citizens, opinion activists and opposition political forces, especially with regard to the political leaders of the Democratic Reform Movement in the Fatah movement and their supporters, which have long been violated Their rights to fair legal procedures and their arbitrary detention against the background of freedom of opinion and expression and in opposition to the policies of the authority, in addition to storming and searching their homes, terrorizing their families and assaulting them, without following the procedures stipulated by law in the arrest and search operations.
Based on the follow-up of the ICSPR ,we found it important to inform you about the most prominent of these violations and after exhausting all the national legal and human rights methods that did not succeed in dissuading the authority from its violations, and releasing those arbitrarily detained and against the background of opinion and political activity, in order to urge you to intervene to stop these unjustified violations, as next one:
1- The security services arrested, on Monday at dawn on: 21 September 2020, a number of Fatah leaders affiliated with the Democratic Reform Movement, as they arrested the leader Haitham al-Halabi, a member of the former Fatah Revolutionary Council and Ameed al-Halabi, his nephew, “from their homes in Nablus governorate, and they also arrested the Major General “Salim Abu Safeya” from his home in the city of Jericho. He was accompanied by the arrests of citizens who broke into homes, searched them, and tampered with their contents without following the legal procedures.
2- On 6/9/2020, the security services in the West Bank arrested Dr. “Firas Halabi,” one of the leaders of the Democratic Reform Movement in the West Bank, from the Karama crossing and prevented him from traveling to Cairo to complete his academic papers, where he is still detained despite a judicial decision to release him
3- . The security services continue to detain citizens Thaer Al-Shalabi and Moataz Abu Tayoun, in addition to summoning and detaining a number of citizens who support the reform movement in the governorates of Qalqila and Jerusalem, among them Muhammad Saadi Abu Mughalah, Akrama Ali, Rizq Nazal and Zahran Al-Hilu were known.
4- The arrest by the Preventive Security Service in Nablus of the 34-year-old journalist Kanaan Sabri Kanaan, after he was summoned for an interview on September 09, 2020; Against the background of his posts on his Facebook page, this brings the number of detained journalists working in Al-Najah TV to the Preventive Agency to two; As the agency continues to arrest Abd al-Rahman Zahir on charges of defaming the public authorities since the seventeenth of last month.
5- Since the declaration of the state of emergency in the West Bank, the security services in the West Bank have arrested and summoned dozens of citizens, including journalists and political activists, who were arrested on the grounds of opinion and belonging to opposition parties. Abu Ghurab, Majd Kamil, and Musa Mualla; These arrests and summons were also accompanied by attacks on detainees, bringing the number of arbitrary detainees in the prisons of the Authority to nearly 400 detainees on the grounds of opinion and political activity.
6- These violations were accompanied by forceful raids of homes and terrorizing their residents, including women, children, and the elderly, breaking down some of the home’s furniture and tampering with them, and confiscating cell phones and computers. The Authority’s security services in the West Bank also prevented human rights defenders and lawyers who are supposed to enjoy With special legal protection guaranteed by international human rights covenants, to enable them to carry out their work by preventing them from visiting their clients, to check on their safety and to guarantee their legal rights.
Evidence confirms that the violations committed by the authorities and the police forces in the West Bank are in clear and grave breach of the standards of detention and arrest stipulated in the Criminal Procedures Law No. 3 of 2001, and the standards that must be met during detention and arrest, as well as a violation of the provisions of the Basic Law The Public Meetings Law of 1998, and the Press and Publications Law of 1995, especially the legal articles that prohibit arbitrary detention and guarantee personal freedoms and freedom of opinion and expression for citizens, and it has violated the obligations of the State of Palestine in the field of respecting the rights of its citizens as per its accession to many international human rights treaties. Among them is the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the freedom to form and belong to political parties, and the freedom of peaceful assembly.
The ICSPR expresses its concern about the security and police services in the West Bank continuing to apply the method of arbitrary arrests, fear that the detainees will be subjected to torture and ill-treatment, and reiterates its absolute rejection of any attempts that would beautify political and arbitrary arrests, and affirming that the arrest of citizens is Haitham, Firas and Amid Al-Halabi Major General Salim Abu Safiya, Wathair al-Shalabi, Mu’taz Abu Tayyun and others are driven by the desire of the Palestinian government and its security apparatus to take political revenge against its opponents, and to seek to silence and exclusivity and restrict freedom of opinion, expression, association, and the practice of legitimate political activity, which is a serious violation of all international human rights agreements and treaties signed by the State of Palestine Recently, and flagrantly violating the Palestinian Basic Law and the body of relevant national laws, and with fear of employing the state of emergency to impose unjustified restrictions on public rights and freedoms.
Based on the above, we in ICSPR call on you to fulfill your moral and legal responsibilities and to make more efforts to provide legal protection for citizens, in a manner that ensures interference and pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Dr. Muhammad Shtayyeh, in his capacity as Minister of the Interior and the rest of the Palestinian authorities, to stop the summons, arbitrary detention, and political retaliation against opinion activists and political opponents, which constitutes a flagrant violation and violation of Palestinian law and international human rights standards, court decisions and national consensus, and work for the immediate release of political detainees on the background of the opinion, out of respect For the rule of law, and to guarantee the rights and freedoms guaranteed in international covenants and Palestinian legislation and until that time work to guarantee the rights of detainees and those who are arbitrarily attached to ensure that lawyers and families of detainees are able to visit them, know their place of detention, verify their conditions of detention, ensure that they are not subjected to torture and ill-treatment, and guarantee their legal rights, foremost among which is the right to procedures Fair legal.
In conclusion, we hope that you will quickly intervene now, because the threat is present and continuing, and there is a fear of a widening campaign of arbitrary arrests, in addition to our fear of abuse by the authority against detainees on the background of political opinion and activity, and tomorrow it will be too late, because Palestinian citizens are victims of violations of the authority, they deserve to work with them and for them. They look forward to your positive role in ensuring that they enjoy their package of rights that are guaranteed nationally and internationally, as they are well-established, legitimate and non-derogable rights, in line with your international legal mandate in particular.
(Source (mail ICSPR) / 28.09.2020)