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PCHR Condemns Attack on Mahmoud al-Zeq, Secretary of the National Work Committee in Gaza, and Calls for Serious Investigation

Ref: 32/2017

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) calls upon the Attorney General in Gaza to seriously investigate the circumstances in which Mahmoud al-Zeq, Secretary of the National Work Committee in Gaza, was kidnapped and harshly beaten by a group of armed persons yesterday, 19 April 2017, in al-Shuja’iya neighborhood in Gaza City and bring the perpetrators to justice.

According to the statement of Mahmoud Sulaiman al-Zeq (61) to PCHR, four unmasked but armed persons stopped him at approximately 15:20, yesterday, while he was on Baghdad Street in al-Shuja’iya neighborhood, east of Gaza City. They asked him to accompany them, and two of them forced him into their car. When some by-passers tried to intervene, the armed persons pointed their guns at them and obliged them to pull back. Al-Zeq added that the armed persons put him on the car seat, handcuffed him to the back and blindfolded him. They also covered his head with a sack and pushed the head downward. Al-Zeq explained that they kept beating him for about 30 minutes while the car was traveling. They verbally insulted him and asked him not to talk about politics or the situation in Gaza, including the electricity crisis or any other crisis. They threatened him he would be killed if he did not commit to it and then whipped him on his feet. Al-Zeq said that they left him in the car for about an hour and a half and then returned saying, “You are free to go.” The car travelled for about 10 minutes on a dirt road after which, they took him out of the car and made him sit down with his face to the ground. They removed the handcuffs and blindfold and asked him not to move until they leave the place. Al-Zeq clarified that after they had left, he found himself in an agricultural area and it was around 18:00. He asked the farmers there and they guided him to the main beach road. He stopped a car that took him to Shifa Hospital for check-up.

It should be noted that al-Zeq is a prominent national figure, who served about 15 years in the Israeli jails and was released in a prisoner exchange deal in 1985.

PCHR strongly rejects and denounces such an attack, and:

  1. Calls upon the Attorney General and Security Services in Gaza to investigate seriously the attack on al-Zeq, reveal its circumstances and bring perpetrators to justice.
  2. Emphasizes that the right to freedom of opinion and expression and practicing objective criticism is the basis of public freedoms guaranteed by the Palestinian Basic Law and relevant international standards and instruments and stresses that the opinion and dissenting opinion should be respected.
  3. Hopes that this attack would be a prelude for similar attacks in the future.