PCHR Condemns IOF Arrest of Human Rights Defender, Farid al-Atrash, in Bethlehem
Date: 04 July 2021
Time: 12:00 GMT
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the arrest of lawyer Farid al-Atrash, Director of the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) in southern West Bank, as part of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF’s) campaign against human rights defenders.
According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 01:00 on Sunday, 04 July 2021, Israeli Border Police stationed at al-Container military checkpoint, east of Bethlehem, arrested lawyer Farid Mohammed Hussein al-Atrash (44), ICHR’s Director in southern West Bank and resident of al-Dawha area in Bethlehem, when he was on his way back from Ramallah.
His wife said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:
“I received a call from my husband at 04:00 telling me that IOF stopped his car at al-Container Checkpoint and arrested him. He told me that he was exhausted and suffered shortness of breath, so the Israeli forces took him to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Later the family learnt from HaMoked Complaints Office that my husband was referred at 10:00 to “Atarot” police station in Jerusalem while his brother brought my husband’s car that was left at al-Container checkpoint.”
Lawyer al-Atrash was previously arrested and abused by IOF a couple of times: on 26 February 2021 IOF arrested him during his participation in a peaceful protest in Hebron and released him 8 days later. He also appeared many times before the” ‘Ofer” military court; the last was on 30 May 2021 when the court imposed on him “a fine of ILS 1500, suspended for 2 months.”
It should be noted that Palestinian human rights defenders are constantly exposed to IOF’s violations, including arbitrary arrests and detention, use of firearms, travel bans, defamation campaigns, restrictions on movement and deportation of international human rights defenders.
PCHR calls upon the international community to hold its responsibilities towards the war crimes and serious violations committed by IOF in the occupied Palestinian territory.
PCHR urges international civil society organizations, including human rights organizations, bar associations, and international solidarity committees, to be more active and effective in the prosecution of the Israeli war criminals and to compel their governments to bring them to justice.