PCHR Calls Upon the PA to Release Detainees on Hunger Strike in its Prisons

Press Release
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Ref: 71/2012

Date: 28 June 2012

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is gravely concerned about the lives of 6 detainees who started a hunger strike in the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) prisons in the West Bank. These detainees are on hunger strike to protest the fact that the PA has kept them in custody, despite Palestinian court rulings to release the detainees, and to protest against their living conditions inside the prisons. PCHR calls upon the PA to release these detainees, for fear of deterioration in their health conditions.

Othman al-Qawasmi, Mohammed Abu Hadeed, Mo’tasem al-Natsheh and Mohammed al-Atrash, all from Hebron, have been on an open-ended hunger strike since 20 June 2012 in protest of their continued detention, despite Palestinian court rulings to release them. They were transferred to the General Intelligence prison in Bethlehem after they had been detained in Jericho Central Prison. These individuals were arrested in September 2010 when the Palestinian Security Services launched a wide-scale arrest campaign against Hamas members in Hebron and Ramallah. Although they have been detained on political grounds – accused of harming national unity – the Palestinian courts, including the Palestinian High Court of Justice, has issued rulings for the release of these particular detainees, as well as others that were previously arrested on the same grounds. However, the PA has not implemented the courts’ rulings.

Two other political detainees joined the hunger strikers on Friday, 22 June 2012:

1. Anas Abu Markhiya, from Hebron, who has been detained at the Intelligence Service’s prison in Ramallah since 19 December 2011; and

2. Islam al-Arouri, from Ramallah, who has been detained at the Preventive Security Service prison since 07 October 2010. He was sentenced to 3 years of imprisonment.

PCHR is concerned about the detainees’ lives in the PA’s prisons in the West Bank, and:

1. Calls upon the PA to immediately release the 6 hunger strikers and all other political detainees in the Palestinian prisons, in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip;

2. Reminds executive bodies of the ruling issued by the Palestinian Supreme Court of Justice on 20 February 1999, which considers political detention illegal, and demands all executive bodies to respect the court’s ruling and cease the practice of political detention, according to international laws and conventions; and

3. Reminds the PA that Article 106 of the Palestinian Basic Law stipulates that “The implementation of judicial rulings is mandatory; and refraining from or obstructing their implementation in any manner whatsoever shall be considered a crime punishable by imprisonment or dismissal from position if the accused is a public servant or assigned to public service, and persons who benefit from such rulings have the right to appeal to a competent court, and the Palestinian National Authority shall ensure full reparation.”

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