Iyad Saraj, Commissioner-General Of The Palestinian Independent Commission For Citizen Rights Arrested For Second Time By The Palestinian Police
IYAD SARAJ, COMMISSIONER-GENERAL OF THE PALESTINIAN INDEPENDENT
COMMISSION FOR CITIZEN RIGHTS ARRESTED FOR SECOND TIME BY THE
Published @ 09:00 GMT/19 May 1996
Dr Iyad Saraj, a leading human rights activist in the Gaza Strip was arrested yesterday by the
Palestinian Police and continues to be held, it appears, without charge. No official reason has
been given for his detention and it remains unclear when he will be released.
Yesterday, Saturday 18 May 1996 at 15:00 hours local time (12:00 hours GMT) four plain-
clothes police officers went to the home of Dr Iyad Saraj in Gaza City, Gaza Strip. The police officers claimed that they had been sent by Colonel Mohammad Juda, Head of the Criminal Investigation Bureau of the Civilian Police Division of the Palestinian Authority’s security services. The police officers asked Dr Saraj to accompany them. Dr Saraj refused.
Soon after civilian police officers arrived at the home of Dr Iyad Saraj in a police car and asked him to accompany them. Dr Saraj agreed, but requested to travel to the Civilian Police
Headquarters in Rimal, Gaza City in his own car.
For the next four hours nothing was heard from him. At around 20:00 hours (17:00 hours GMT) Jamal Hawilla, a lawyer at the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizen Rights, attended the Police HQ; but police officers denied him access to Dr Saraj.
At around 23:00 hours (20:00 hours GMT), lawyer Jamal Hawilla reported that the Attorney-
General Khalid al-Kidrah, went into the Police HQ to see Dr Saraj. The details of their
conversation are not known.
To our knowledge, no official accusation or charge has been made against Dr Saraj, and it is
unclear whether a charge will be made against him. However, it is possible that his arrest is
connected with his criticisms of the Palestinian Authority in an article in the New York Times published 6 May 1996.
Dr Iyad Saraj is a leading human rights activist in the Occupied Territories, and is based in the Gaza Strip. He is the Head of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme and the Human Rights Commissioner of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizen Rights, a post he took over from Dr Hanan Ashrawi in September 1995. This is the second time Dr Saraj has been arrested by the Palestinian Authority; the first time was on 7 December 1996, when he was held for some eight hours in similar circumstances.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights is trying to obtain further information on Dr Saraj’s detention, and is attempting to secure his release.