|PCHR Condemns Banning Private Meeting by the Police in Gaza|
|Wednesday, 01 June 2011 08:00|
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the Palestinian police’s prevention of the “Youth Mobility and Palestinian Reconciliation” conference, which was scheduled to be held in Rashad al-Shawa Cultural Center in Gaza City. The police used force to disperse the participants and arrested a number of them. PCHR calls for stopping the unjustified intervention of the Ministry of Interior and it security services into public liberties, and respecting the right to organize private and public meetings ensured under the Palestinian Basic Law and relevant international standards.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR and the testimonies of eyewitnesses, at approximately 10:00 on Tuesday, 31 May 2011, dozens of young men and women headed to Rashad al-Sahwa Cultural Center in the west of Gaza City to participate in the “Youth Mobility and Palestinian Reconciliation” conference, but they were surprised by the deployment of many members of the police, the general investigation bureau and the female police in the vicinity of and at the entrance of the center. The security personnel attacked the young men and women using clubs. They violently beat a young man who attempted to photograph the dispersion of the gathering by the police using his mobile phone. The police arrested this young man together with another five ones and transported them to the nearby al-Abbas police station. The detainees were interrogated about the activities and organizers of the conference, and were released later after being forced to sign an oath to “abide to the law and morals and come to the police once they are summoned,” according to the testimony of one of the released detainees.
It is worth noting that the 15 March Youth Coalition organized the conference in cooperation with the Palestinian Planning Center of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The conference was supposed to be held in Rashad al-Shawa Cultural Center at 11:00 on Tuesday, 31 May 2011.
In light of the above:
1) PCHR calls for stopping the unjustified interventions by security bodies and the Ministry of Interior into public liberties and the right to organize public and private meetings which is legally and constitutionally ensured.
2) PCHR emphasizes that private meetings and likewise, conference and festivals, are organized in closed places and are not subject to the provisions of the Public Meetings Law No. 12 of 1998. Private meetings can be held without the presence of police, according to article 26(5) of the Basic Law, which provides that "private meetings shall be held without the presence of police officers, and public meetings and gatherings shall be held within the scope of the law."
3) PCHR calls upon Palestinian security services to respect international human rights standards, the Palestinian Basic Law and relevant laws.
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