|PCHR Condemns Banning Mass Marriage Ceremony in Gaza|
|Sunday, 02 September 2012 00:00|
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the banning of a mass marriage ceremony by the police in Gaza. The ceremony was scheduled to be organized on Friday, 31 August 2012, in Shalihat Resort in the western part of Gaza City. PCHR calls for these unjustified interferences with public liberties to be stopped by the Ministry of Interior and its security services, and asks that the right to organize public meetings be respected, which is ensured under the Palestinian Basic Law and relevant international standards.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, on Friday evening, 31 August 2012, Palestinian police forces were deployed in large numbers in the vicinity of the Shalihat Resort at Gaza beach. They established a number of roadblocks in order to prevent people who were invited to the mass marriage ceremony, which was supposed to be held in the resort, from reaching the place. Mohammed al-Nahhal, Member of the Revolutionary Council of the Fatah Movement, told PCHR that the police damaged and confiscated the facilities of the ceremony, which was organized by the Fatah Movement for 20 young men from various areas throughout the Gaza Strip. He added that he and other leaders of Palestinian factions attempted to contact officials of the government in Gaza to ensure the organization of the ceremony, but these efforts failed since the ceremony was an activity of the Fatah Movement in Gaza.
On the other hand, Major Ayman al-Batniji, Spokesman of the Palestinian police, told PCHR that “arrangements for the ceremony were coordinated with the Palestinian police, but the decision to prevent its organization was taken in the end when the police noticed that the number of attendants was higher than expected.”
In light of the above:
1. PCHR stresses that the mass marriage ceremony, which was to be held in a closed place, is a private meeting, and that private meetings and similar conferences and celebrations held in closed places do not fall under the provisions of the Public Meetings Law No. 12 of 1998. Thus, they should be held without the presence of the police. Article 56(5) of the Palestinian Basic Law stipulates that “private meetings shall be held without the presence of the police, and public meetings, convoys and gatherings shall be organized within the limits of law.”
2. PCHR calls for these unjustified interferences with public liberties to be stopped by the Ministry of Interior and its security services, and that they respect the right of Gazans to organize private meetings, which is legally and constitutionally ensured.
3. PCHR calls upon the Palestinian security services to respect international human rights standards, the Palestinian Basic Law and relevant laws.
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