PCHR Condemns Measures Taken by Security Services in Gaza against Fatah Activists

News and Press Release
Originally published
Ref: 02/2010
Time: 12:00 GMT

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns measures taken by the security services in Gaza against activists of Fatah Movement in the Gaza Strip to prevent them from commemorating the 45th anniversary of the establishment on the movement on the 1st of January. Security services in Gaza arrested dozens of activists of Fatah movement during the last week of December 2009. A number of detainees were violently beaten and were subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment. Security services also prevented private celebrations in closed places, took down flags of Fatah Movement from houses and summoned a number of people who flamed candles. The most serious of such violations was the death of Nazira al-Swairki, from Gaza City, when she was being transported in a police vehicle to a detention center.

According top investigations conducted by PCHR:

On 30 December 2009, members of security services wearing civilian clothes - some of whom were armed - stormed the campus of al-Azhar University in Gaza City. They confiscated kefiyehs (mufflers) and mobile phones from a number of students. Dr. Riad al-'Eila, Dean of Students' Affairs, and Dr. Jaber al-Da'our, Deputy President of the University, intervened to in an attempt to persuade security officers to such attacks, but the security officers moved towards the campus of female students to storm it. When Dr. al-'Eila intervened again, a security officer insulted and slapped him on the face.

On 31 December 2009, an activist of Fatah Movemnt was arrested,[1] beaten and subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment. After he had been released, he stated to PCHR that:

"On 31 December 2009, the police arrived at my home and arrested me accusing me of possession of flags of Fatah Movement. They took me to a police station in al-Shati refugee camp. When I arrived there, they covered my head, and a police officer hit me on my head. When I resisted him, many police officers kicked me and violently beat me using sticks and gun butts until I fainted. I woke up when they sprinkled cold water over my body. They then took me to an interrogation room, where they ordered me to take off my upper clothes. They questioned me about the possession of flags of Fatah Movement. They violently beat me on the feet and thighs. The interrogation and beating lasted for an hour, after which they tied me and beat me again. At midnight, they took me to al-Nazara (a fenced space area that is used as a detention place). They detained me there naked although the weather was so cold. On the following day, I was subjected to several rounds of interrogation about the same issue. The interrogation continued until midnight, after which they forced me to sign a pledge not to participate in activities of Fatah Movement, to comply to decisions of the government in Gaza and to abstain from violating order, otherwise I would pay a fine of 3,000 NIS. They then released me."

On 01 January 2010, Nazira Jaddou' al-Swairki, 56, from al-Tuffah neighborhood in Gaza City, died when the Palestinian police arrested and beat her and two of her sons. 'Aamer al-Swairki, the victim's son who was detained with her, stated to PCHR that his mother suffered from suffocation and wanted him and his brother Mohammed, who were with her in a police vehicle, to take her to the hospital, but the police officers did not respond to her appeals and continued to drive to al-Tufah Police Station. She began to lose consciousness. Then the policemen took her to al-Shifa Hospital in the jeep. Her condition continued to deteriorate until she died before arriving at the hospital.[2]

On 02 January 2010, the police investigation bureau summoned a number of students from Hayel 'Abdul Hamid Secondary School[3] in Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip. The students, aged 16, were interrogated about the distribution of a statement of Fatah Movement at school. During the interrogation, they were violently beaten. One of the students sustained a fracture to the right hand and bruises throughout the body, and another one sustained bruises throughout the body.

On 04 January 2010, the Union of Palestinian Women organized a celebration to commemorate the launching of the Palestinian revolution in al-Sammak restaurant at Gaza beach. Four members of the Internal Security Services wearing civilian clothes entered the restaurant and called for stopping the celebration, but the women refused. The security officers remained inside the restaurant until the end of the celebration. They then arrested the director of the restaurant, Mo'in Abu al-Khair. He was taken to Ansar security compound, where he questioned about hosting the celebration. They released him in the evening after confiscating his identity card and mobile phone. They also forced him to sign a pledge not to host celebrations in his restaurant without permission of competent authorities.

On 03 January 2010, the spokesman of the Ministry of Interior, Eihab al-Ghussain, stated that the Ministry did not prevent any local activities in the Gaza Strip related to the 45th anniversary of the establishment of Fatah Movement.

In light of the above:

1) PCHR condemns measures attacks by security services to prevent any activities or celebration for the anniversary of the establishment of Fatah Movement and calls for holding those who were responsible for such measures and attacks accountable.

2) PCHR stresses the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to peaceful assembly are ensured under the Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights instruments.

3) PCHR stresses that torture is prohibited under Palestinian law, constitutes a jus cogens (pre-emptory) norm of international law, and constitutes a serious violation of international human rights instruments, particularly the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 2009. There is not statute of limitations for the crime of torture.

4) PCHR calls upon the government and security services in Gaza to stop such measures and attacks and to ensure their non-recurrence.

Public Document

[1] PCHR keeps the name of the detainee.

[2] For more details, see PCHR's Press Release, Ref: 01/2010, 04 January 2010.

[3] PCHR keeps the names of students.


For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 - 2825893

PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail: pchr@pchrgaza.org, Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org