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PCHR Condemns Summons Campaign of Fatah Members in Gaza Strip

Ref: 35/2017

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) is deeply concerned over the wide-scale summons campaign carried out by the Internal Security Service (ISS) in Gaza during the last two days against dozens of Fatah Movement members in the Gaza Strip in order to prevent them from organizing a demonstration in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in the Israeli prisons.  The demonstration was supposed to be held yesterday, Wednesday, in al-Saraya Square in the center of Gaza City.  PCHR calls upon the security services in Gaza to respect the right to peaceful assembly and public freedoms that are both constitutionally guaranteed within the international human rights standards.  PCHR also calls upon them to stop arrests on grounds of political affiliation.

 

According to PCHR’s investigations, the summons campaign conducted by the ISS during the last two days against dozens of Fatah members, including Secretaries, members of governorate  and area committees, and other activists,[1] throughout the Gaza Strip.  The security services released some of the detainees while others are so far under arrest.  Some of those detained and later released said that they were summoned by ISS via phone calls to refer to the ISS offices; each of them according to his area.  They were then informed in the office not to be allowed to hold the activity in solidarity with the prisoners in al-Saraya Square. They were also told that ISS has concerns that a protest to support President Mahmoud ‘Abbas during his meeting with US President Donald Trump is to be held, so all of those detained were forced to sign pledges not to hold any activities before being released.

 

Commenting on the summons campaign, lawyer Raji Sourani, PCHR’s Director, said that these summonses are unjustifiable, and that the right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed by the Palestinian Basic Law (PBL) and relevant intentional standards.  He added, “While 1500 Palestinian prisoners have been on hunger strike for 18 days, they need all forms of popular solidarity to support them, their cause and fair demands.”

 

In the northern Gaza Strip, on Tuesday, 02 May 2017, ISS summoned dozens via phone calls to refer to its office in the center of the refugee camp.  All of the summoned were detained until the afternoon as they were released.  They were informed of not being allowed to hold that activity in solidarity with the prisoners on hunger strike.

 

In Gaza City, On Tuesday, 02 May 2017, ISS conducted a summons campaign against many Fatah members.  Some of them said that they were detained in the ISS office, west of Gaza City, and questioned about the activity to be held in solidarity with the prisoners on hunger strike.  They were then informed of not being allowed to hold the activity.  Some of those summoned are so far under arrest.

 

In the central Gaza Strip, yesterday morning, Fatah members were handed summonses while dozens were summoned via phone calls to refer to the ISS office in Deir al-Balah on the same grounds.  Some of those summoned were released while 8 of them are so far under arrest.

 

In Khan Younis, ISS summoned two members of Fatah movement to refer to its office yesterday morning. One of them said that he received a phone call from a private number to inform him that Fatah movement’s activities held in solidarity with prisoners were banned.  The caller also threatened him if he did not comply with the orders.  Walid Shaqourah, Secretary of Fatah movement in West Khan Younis, said that he received a call on Tuesday, 02 May 2017, from someone introducing himself as an ISS officer to inform Walid that Fatah Movement activities were banned.

 

In Rafah, On Tuesday, 02 May, ISS informed a number of Fatah members not to hold any activities in Rafah City.  Jalal Sheikh al-‘Eid, Fatah Secretary in Rafah, said that he received a call from someone introducing himself as an ISS officer, ordering Jalal not to organize any activity in Rafah City and not to head to Saraya Square in Gaza City by buses to go in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli jails.

 

In light of the above, PCHR is concerned over the latest summons campaign and banning peaceful demonstrations.  Thus, PCHR

 

  1. Emphasizes, “Personal freedom is a natural right, shall be guaranteed and may not be violated,” according to the PBL, which also stresses that “It is unlawful to arrest, search, imprison, restrict the freedom, or prevent the movement of any person, except by judicial order.” Moreover, according to PBL, “Every arrested or detained person shall be informed of the reason for their arrest or detention.”
  2. Stresses that the right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed by the PBL and international human rights standards.

 

 

[1] PCHR keeps their names.

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