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PCHR Demands Respect for Right to Expression and Peaceful Assembly

 

Ref: 73/2019

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) follows up with concern the arrest of dozens of activists belonging to  Hizb Ut Tahrir (the Islamic Liberation Party) by Palestinian security services across the West bank. The activists were arrested on grounds of an argument about ‘Eid al-Fitr prayer and a statement issued after by Hizb Ut Tahrir against the Palestinian Authority (PA).

 

PCHR stresses that the rights to freedom of expression and opinion and peaceful assembly are guaranteed in the Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights instruments. PCHR also emphasizes that actions taken to maintain security should not violate the law.

 

According to PCHR’s follow-up, on Tuesday, 03 June 2019, the Palestinian security services forcibly dispersed a peaceful assembly organized by Hizb ut Tahrir activists in Hebron. The activists intended to perform ‘Eid al-Fitr prayer, considering Tuesday as the first day of Eid al-Fitr and this was contrary to what was declared by the Mufti of Palestine that it will be on Wednesday, 04 June.

 

(A. A), 40, Member of Hizb Ut Tahrir, said that the Hizb members attempted to perform ‘Eid al-Fitr prayer in al-Abrar Mosque in Hebron, but Palestinian security officers surrounded the mosque and prevented the worshipers’ entry. The officers also fired sound bombs in front of the mosque and a tear gas canister inside it. After that, they attacked some worshipers and arrested others. The Palestinian security services prevented performing ‘Eid al-Fitr prayer in several mosques throughout the West Bank, including a mosque in ‘Azoun village in Qalqiliyia.

 

Following this incident, Hizb Ut Tahrir issued a statement against the PA and its services. As a result, the security services carried out an arrest campaign against Hizb ut Tahrir activists and members, and arrested around 50 persons from Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, Tubas, Nablus, and Tulkarm. Some of those activists were arrested after raiding their houses or workplaces.

 

According to PCHR’s documentation, most of the arrested activists are so far under arrest, and the Public Prosecution exceeded their arrest.

 

In the light of the above, PCHR:

 

  1. Condemns the Palestinian security services’ violations of the freedom of expression and opinion and peaceful assembly and calls for the immediate release of Hizb ut Tahrir members.
  2. Emphasizes that the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of opinion and expression are guaranteed in the Palestinian Basic Law and the international human rights instruments; emphasizing that actions taken to maintain security should not violate the law.