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PCHR Condemns Civilian Beaten up by Members of Al-Qassam Brigades in Deir al-Balah

Ref: 65/2017

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns that Members of al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas Movement, beat up and broke the hands of an elderly man in Deir al-Balah. PCHR confirms that the Qassam Brigades are neither a police force nor judicial police, and its members do not have the right or the power to deal with civilians as it has been done. At the same time, PCHR calls upon the Attorney General to open an investigation into the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.

‘Abed al-Rahman Ahmed Barakah (59), from Deir al-Balah, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that, at approximately 19:40 on Monday, 31 July 2017, while he along with his two sons, Shadi (36) and Mohammed 31, was training some young men in the Equestrian Club he owns in al-Bassa area, northwest of Deir al-Balah, around 30 masked armed men from Al-Qassam Brigades entered the Club. The armed men pointed their firearms at ‘Abed al-Rahman’s sons and then started beating him with batons and the riffels’ butts.  Around 30 minutes later, the armed men pushed ‘Abed al-Rahman into their jeep, took him to al-Barouq neighborhood, southwest of the city, where he lives.  They then threw him near his house, telling him, “This is what you get for cursing Al-Qassam Brigades.” ‘Abed al-Rahman’s relatives saw that and attempted to approach him, but al-Qassam Members opened fire in the air and withdrew from the area. ‘Abed al-Rahman was then taken via an ambulance belonging to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) to al-Aqsa Hospital, and he underwent medical tests which showed that ‘Abed al-Rahman sustained bruises and fractures to his hands.  He is so far at the hospital for medical treatment.

It should be noted that the incident occurred after ‘Abdel Rahman intervened to solve a dispute between 2 of his relatives. Armed persons then intervened and attempted to impose a solution to the dispute. Five days before the incident, they forced ‘Abdel Rahman (the victim) to get into their car and took him to a house belonging to a chieftain (Mukhtar) in Deir al-Balah to end the dispute. Protesting this, ‘Abdel Rahman later informed his relatives that he would withdraw from the intermediation as far as those who kidnapped him had not apologized.

PCHR strongly condemns the blatant attack against Barakah in front of his family and:

  1. Calls upon the Attorney General to open a serious investigation into the attack against Barakah by al-Qassam Brigades and bring the perpetrators into justice;
  2. Confirms that al-Qassam Brigades are neither a police force nor judicial police and its members are not entitled to treat civilians the way they did, and the only competent authority to exercise judicial powers is the Public Prosecution according to Article 19 of the 2001 Penal Procedure Code; and
  3. is concerned over the attack and beating of an elderly man by a group of about 30 armed persons on civil grounds.