PCHR Condemns Security Services Assault on Peaceful Assemblies And Arrest Campaign in Ramallah
Date: 06 July 2021
Time: 12:00 GMT
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns in the strongest terms the security services’ assaults on peaceful assemblies demanding accountability for those involved in the murder of political activist Nizar Banat, who was killed by Palestinian Security Services few hours after his arrest. PCHR also holds the Palestinian National Authority fully responsible for the repercussions of these assaults, warns of using police state approach in dealing with dissenting voices and calls for respecting public freedoms that are constitutionally guaranteed.
According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 17:00 on Monday, 05 July 2021, Palestinians activists called for a peaceful protest at al-Manara Square in central Ramallah, protesting at the murder of the political activist Nizar Banat. Afterwards, a large Palestinian security force immediately arrived at the area, denied protestors’ access to the Presidential Compound (Al Muqata’a) on al-Ersal Street and arrested some of them, including human rights activists and journalists, under the pretext that they did not obtain licenses from competent authorities. Among those arrested were: Omar ‘Assaf, Obai ‘Ismat al-‘Abodi, Tayseer al-Zabari, Khaled ‘Abdullah ‘Odah, Adham Karaja, Basheer al-Khairy, Ahmed al-Kharouf, Osama Badeer, ‘Adli ‘Izzat Hanisha, and Omar al-‘Ori.
Following the arrest of the protestors, human rights activists and journalists, their families headed to Ramallah Police Station and called for releasing them. Accordingly, security officers assaulted the families of the arrestees, dragged them on the ground, pushed them, and arrested some of them. The arrestees were identified as: the two siblings namely Shatha and Awos Omar ‘Assaf, Dima Ameen, Dr. Nadia Habash, and Lawyer Diyala ‘Ayash who was arrested while she attempted to enter the police station calling for the release of those arrested. Also, security officers beat some protestors with batons and sticks, and they were identified as: Hitham Mohammed Sayyaj (22), who sustained wounds in his head; Nabil Saleh ‘Awwas, who sustained bruises in his hands; and ‘Oroba Nassar, who sustained bruises in her shoulder. The wounded persons were taken to Palestine Medical Complex for treatment. Moreover, the security officers tried to confiscate a cellphone belonging to Nader Abu Nejim, a journalist and a reporter at Waten News Agency, in an attempt to prevent him from covering the incidents.
It should be noted that these incidents occurred few hours after the Palestinian Prime Minister, Muhammad Shtayyeh, pledged in the opening of the Council of Ministers’ session to maintain freedoms and citizens’ dignity.
It is worth noting that these incidents were preceded by the arrest and suppression of protestors by Palestinian security services. One of those incidents was the suppression of a peaceful assembly organized by a group of Palestinians in front of Ramallah Courts Complex on Sunday, 04 July 2021, protesting at the arrest of some persons who participated in pervious peaceful protests. The police assaulted the protestors and arrested some of them.
PCHR stresses that the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are guaranteed in the Palestinian Basic Law and in international conventions binding to Palestine.
PCHR calls for holding accountable those involved in assaulting the participants in peaceful assemblies, especially those who gave orders to arrest, beat and drag the protestors.
PCHR also reiterates its demands for holding accountable those involved in the murder of Nizar Banat and subjecting them to trial according to law.