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PCHR Demands Investigation into the Circumstances of the Death of Nazira al-Sweirki

Ref: 1/2010


Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) expresses its grave concern
regarding the circumstances of the death of Nazira Jaddou’a al-Sweirki, 56,
from al-Tufah neighborhood in Gaza City, who died in the custody of the
Palestinian police in Gaza. PCHR demands that the competent authorities
immediately open an investigation into the circumstances of al-Sweirki’s death.
The Centre also calls for the results of this investigation to be made public,
and for the perpetrators to be prosecuted and brought to justice.  


According to investigations conducted by PCHR, four vehicles belonging
to the Palestinian police arrived at al-Sweirki’s home at approximately 20:00
on Friday, 1 January 2010. The policemen demanded to see the victim’s son,
Mohammed al-Sweirki, 22, who was in his shop on the ground floor of the
building to blow out candles that had been lit on the balcony, apparently to
celebrate the anniversary of Fatah movement. Fatah supporters light candles to
celebrate the anniversary of the movement because the security services in Gaza
prevent them from organizing celebrations on this occasion. A dispute arose
between the policemen and the victim’s sons Sami, 40, ‘Amer, 27, and Mohammed,
22; the policemen beat the three civilians and arrested Mohammed and ‘Amer. In
his testimony to PCHR, Sami al-Sweirki stated: “When she saw my two brothers in
the jeep, my mother – who was in the shop – tried to pull them out of the jeep.
My mother suffered from a heart disease and from high blood pressure and
diabetes. One of the policemen hit her on the back and another policeman pulled
her into the jeep. Then they drove away at a very high speed.”


‘Amer al-Sweirki testified: “My mother began to suffocate and told my
brother and me to take her to hospital. The policemen did not respond to her
appeals and continued to drive to al-Tufah Police Station. She began to lose
consciousness. Then the policemen took her to al-Shifa Hospital in the jeep.
Her condition continued to deteriorate until she died before arriving at the


PCHR notes that this incident represents part of a larger-scale campaign
implemented by the security services of the government in Gaza over the past
few days. This campaign aimed at preventing Fatah supporters from celebrating
Fatah’s 45th anniversary on 1 January 2010 and included the delivery of summons
to hundreds of activists and supporters of Fatah across the Gaza Strip.



view of the above incident, PCHR:


1) Calls upon the
competent authorities to open an immediate investigation into the circumstances
of al-Sweirki’s death, to announce the results of the investigation to the
public, and to hold the perpetrators accountable.

2) Calls upon the
competent authorities to ensure the issuance of strict instructions to law
enforcement officers who must adhere to the law in all of their actions.

3) Affirms the right of
civilians to freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, and peaceful assembly,
all of which are granted in the Palestinian Basic Law as well as in relevant
international instruments. PCHR also stresses that suppression of celebrations
represents part of a policy of political repression and is a flagrant attack on
public freedoms.