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PCHR Follows With Concern Arresting Civilians on Grounds of Calling for Peaceful Assembly

Ref: 37/2019


The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) follows with concern the arresting of a number of civilians by the Palestinian Security Services on grounds of calling for peaceful assembly in Jabalia. PCHR condemns these arrests and emphasizes that the freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and political participation are rights guaranteed in the Palestinian Basic Law, particularly Articles 19 and 26, and shall not be prejudiced under any pretext.  PCHR also calls upon the security services to completely stop the arrests and summonses on grounds of political affiliation, unionism or freedom of expression.

According to PCHR’s investigations, Palestinian security services carried out an arrest campaign against 12 civilians, from the northern Gaza Strip, on grounds of calling for peaceful assembly, which is supposed to be held on Thursday, 14 March 2019, protesting at the high cost of living. At approximately 17:30, the Palestinian security services raided a house belonging to Jehad Saleem Mohamed al-‘Arabeed (43), from al-‘Alami housing project in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, and then arrested him. Moreover, 11 other civilians were arrested, some of them arrested from their houses. Among those arrestees were Hamza Hammad, Ghassan al-‘Arabeed, Mohamed Daher, Ramiz Ghaben, Adham al-Senwar, Mohamed Abu Salah, and Ayman Abu ‘Oun. The arrestees are so far under arrest.

PCHR expresses its concern at arresting two civilians on grounds of political activates. Thus, PCHR:

  • Stresses 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.”
  • PCHR emphasizes that the right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed in the Palestinian Basic Law and the international human rights standards; stressing that the right to peaceful assembly only requires a written notification to be sent to a Police Director or the Governor according to Article 3 of the Public Meetings Law 12/1998. Moreover, violating this condition is not enough for dispersing the demonstration or arresting the organizers unless the demonstration included riots.
  • Thus, PCHR Calls upon the Attorney General to intervene immediately to stop such summons campaigns without a warrant issued by the Public Prosecution and without any real basis that proves occurrence of a crime or an incident that requires a summons. PCHR also calls upon the security services in the Gaza Strip to respect the Palestinian law and public freedoms and adhere to the Palestinian Criminal Procedure Code and Palestinian Basic Law.