Palestinian Centre for Human Rights


Security Chaos and Proliferation of Small Arms

Attacks on International Organizations and Individuals

Field Update

31 October 2006


Two Spaniards Kidnapped by Gunmen in a Week in the Gaza Strip

PCHR's preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 15:10 on Monday, 30 October 2006, four gunmen in a yellow car intercepted another car carrying two internationals and their Palestinian assistant. The internationals were Robert Vila, a 30-year old Spaniard, and Celine Gagne, a 26-year old Frenchwoman. Both work for the Cooperation Assembly for Peace. The incident took place near Abu Holi junction on Salah El-Deen Road north of Khan Yunis.

The gunmen forced the occupants of the intercepted vehicle to get out of it. Then, they forced Vila into their vehicle and sped towards Khan Yunis, leaving the Gagne and Palestinian behind. At approximately 22:50 in the evening of the same day, the kidnappers released Vila after contacts with the Preventive Security Apparatus and a Palestinian faction. PCHR's fieldworker learned that the kidnappers abducted Vila after a visit to the Red Crescent Society in Khan Yunis. They demanded that 15 people be hired in the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

In another incident on 24 October 2006, a Spanish journalist was kidnapped. PCHR's preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 7:00 on that day, masked gunmen in a white vehicle kidnapped Emilio Morenatti, a Spanish photographer working for Associated Press (AP). The incident took place in front of his home in Haitham Building near Palestine Hotel in Gaza City. He was released at 22:30 in the same evening without any indication of the motive or demands of the kidnappers.

With these two kidnappings, the number of such crimes against internationals in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) over the past two years increased to 23 crimes targeting 48 internationals.

PCHR strongly condemns these crimes that constitute a flagrant violation of the rule of law and are a continuum of the security chaos plaguing the OPT. The security chaos has worsened over the past two years in the absence of effective legal action by the PNA against criminals.



        More Field Updates


Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip tel/fax: +972 (0)8 282 4776 282 5893

email: pchr@pchrgaza.org      website: www.pchrgaza.org