|PCHR Concerned over Summons and Arrests of Fatah Activists by Internal Security Service in Gaza|
|Wednesday, 28 December 2011 11:00|
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is concerned over the campaign of summons and arrests waged by the Internal Security Service (ISS) in the Gaza Strip, which targeted dozens of members of Fatah Movement who used to be members of former security services. PCHR calls upon the government in the Gaza Strip to stop the summons and the detentions under degrading conditions, and calls for the immediate release of political prisoners to create an appropriate atmosphere for the internal reconciliation.
Over the past week, PCHR has received dozens of complaints and testimonies from activists of Fatah Movement who were repeatedly summoned and detained. According to information available to PCHR, since the beginning of this month, the ISS has delivered summons to activists of Fatah Movement to refer to ISS centers, each according to his area of residence. The complainers reported that they were held from the morning until the evening. They were summoned more than once, sometimes on consecutive days. A number of the complainers reported that were held under degrading conditions, including detention in small cells. Some of them were also questioned about their activities in the Fatah Movement and their contracts with the government in Ramallah. An activist who was summoned a few weeks ago stated that ISS officers raided and searched his house, and checked personal belongings without the presence of female police officers.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, on 26 and 27 December 2011, 50 activists of Fatah Movement throughout the Gaza Strip were summoned to ISS centers, each of them according to his area of residence. When they went there, they were held for several hours, during which they were questioned about their participation in celebration and honor ceremonies of Palestinian prisoners who had been released from Israeli jails.
On 19 December 2011, ISS officers raided and searched 3 houses belonging to 3 members of former security services in al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. They confiscated computer sets and summoned the three persons to the ISS center in Deir al-Balah on the following day. When those summoned went to the center, they were held for several hours, during which they were questioned. They were then ordered to refer to the center again on 04 January 2012.
On 13 December 2011, two members of former security services in the central Gaza Strip were summoned to the ISS center in Deir al-Balah for the following day. When they went to the center, they were held for several hours, during which they were questioned. They were then ordered to refer to the center again.
Additionally, a number of members of former security services were arrested by the ISS in the Gaza Strip. Some of the released detainees reported that were subjected to methods of torture during interrogation.
It should be noted that the ISS has recently waged a campaign of arrests that targeted persons who used to work in the Palestinian General Intelligence throughout the Gaza Strip. Some of the detainees were released, while others have remained in custody. The detainees were interrogated by ISS officers and were accused of having contacts with Ramallah. A released detainee reported that he was subjected to method of torture while being interrogated in Gaza City for accusations of having contacts with Ramallah. He stated that they placed a plastic bag over his head and that he was subjected to Shabeh in a 20-square-meter room for 15 days, including 12 consecutive days. He added that he was placed in a cell for another 15 days together with another 6 persons. They were interrogated and subjected to methods of torture, including forcing them to hear extremely loud sounds.
PCHR reiterates its condemnation of political arrests and accompanying methods of torture, and:
1. Emphasizes that “personal freedom is a natural right that is ensured and cannot be prejudiced” according to the Palestinian Basic Law, which also prohibits “arresting , checking, detaining or restricting the movement of a person without a judicial warrant,” and “whoever is arrested or detained must be informed of the reasons of his arrest or detention;”
2. Reminds of the Palestinian High Court of Justice ruling on 20 February 1999, which considers political arrests illegal, and all executive bodies must respect the court ruling and abstain from carrying out illegal political arrests;
3. Stresses that arrests are regulated by the Palestinian law and fall within the competence of law enforcement officers who are represented in the police and who receive orders from the Attorney General;
4. Calls for immediate release of all political prisoners detained by Palestinian security services in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
 Regular shabeh entails shackling the detainee's hands and legs to a small chair, angled to slant forward so that the detainee cannot sit in a stable position. The detainee's head is covered with an often-filthy sack and loud music is played non-stop through loudspeakers. Detainees in shabeh are not allowed to sleep.
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