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PCHR Demands Gaza Security Service Cease Arbitrary Arrests and Summonses

Ref: 61/2020

Date: 25 June 2020

Time: 10:00 GMT

 

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the continued arrests and summonses campaign led by the Internal Security Service (ISS) in Gaza against dozens of Fatah Movement-affiliated activists and cadres over the past 2 weeks for their political activity and/or their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. PCHR demands a complete cease and desist on arrests and summonses for political affiliation or freedom of expression and reiterates that the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly are guaranteed rights under the Palestinian Basic Law, as per Articles 19 and 26, and cannot be abrogated under any circumstances.

According to PCHR’s follow-up, 31 Fatah Movement members and activists from northern Gaza Strip remain under custody at ISS office in Beit Lahia, after receiving summonses on Tuesday, 23 June 2020, to refer to ISS office by Thursday, 25 June 2020, as they left ISS office after undergoing interrogations over their political activity and receiving humiliating treatment for several hours.

Over the past two weeks, at least 50 Fatah members and activists from northern Gaza Strip have received recurrent summonses by ISS for their participation in a protest, on 11 June 2020, organized in front of a deceased Fatah movement leader’s house, Jamal Abd Rabbo Abu al-Jidian’s,  who was killed during the clashes that occurred in Jabalia in 2007, as well as on grounds of their posts on social media in commemoration of the 14th anniversary of the internal Palestinian division. Since then, dozens of Fatah affiliates were summonses by ISS, and interrogated in humiliating conditions for their political activity from early morning until late hours in the night when they are released and informed to re-appear before ISS in two days for interrogation on the same grounds.

In Central Gaza governorate, ISS summonsed 6 Fatah Movement members between 7-15 June, detained them for several hours and investigated them for political meetings, and their social activities. According to the statement of one of the summonsed Fatah members, ISS officers ordered them to avoid large numbers of participants in social gatherings.

On Thursday, 25 June 2020, PCHR submitted a notice to the Gaza Attorney General, Diaa Al-Din Al-Madhoun, regarding the summonses and arrests for a number of Fatah members in northern Gaza in violation of the law, as well as the kidnapping of citiens by ISS or persons believed to be affiliated with al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas Movement. In its notice, PCHR stressed that “such actions may amplify and renew the state of security chaos and disrespect towards the rule of law.”

PCHR emphasizes that the right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed in the Palestinian Basic Law and under 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, if the number of participants exceeded 50. Moreover, violating this condition is not enough for dispersing the demonstration or arresting the organizers unless the demonstration included riots.

PCHR expresses its concern over the continued arrest of citizens for their political activity, and asserts that the right not to be subjected to arbitrary arrest is a right guaranteed by the Palestinian Basic Law, as per Article 11.1 “It is unlawful to arrest, search, imprison, restrict the freedom, or prevent the movement of any person, except by judicial order in accordance with the provisions of the law;” and that “Every arrested or detained person shall be informed of the reason for their arrest or detention” according to Article 12.

PCHR calls upon the Attorney General, in his capacity as guard of the rule of law, to intervene immediate to end the phenomenon of arrests and summonses without a warrant issued by the Public Prosecution, and without real cause that proves occurrence of a crime or an incident that requires an arrest. PCHR also calls upon ISS in the Gaza Strip to respect the Palestinian law and public freedoms and adhere to the Palestinian Criminal Procedure Code and Palestinian Basic Law.