Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Date: 25 August 2010
Time: 12:30 GMT
PCHR Condemns Interception of Peaceful Protest by Police in Ramallah
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the Palestinian police's interception of a peaceful demonstration organized in Ramallah by the Follow-up Committee in protest to a decision taken by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) decision to participate in direct negotiations with Israel, and the detention of a member of the Committee. PCHR also condemns the disruptions carried out by groups claimed their affiliation to the Fatah Youth Movement during the sit-in called for by the Follow up Committee. PCHR further calls upon the government in Ramallah to respect public freedoms and emphasizes that the right to peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of opinion and expression are guaranteed under the Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights standards.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 12:00 on Wednesday 25 August 2010, about 250 persons, including a number of members of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), secretaries general of a number of political parties and factions, figures from the civil society and independent figures, gathered in the Protestant Church hall in Ramallah to organize a peaceful demonstration and to hold a press conference in protest to the PNA's decision to participate in direct negotiations with Israel. Dozens of persons in civilian clothes, carrying pictures of the Palestinian President, Mahmoud 'Abbas, and radios, broke into the hall, repeating cries of the "Fatah Youth." They entered the hall, some of them mounted on the theater, organized Dabka (from the Palestinian folklore) and accused the attendees of preparing for a (conspiracy) conference against the PNA, and of being (spies for Syria and Iran). As a result, the attendees went out of the hall and headed to Rokab Street in the center of Ramallah. While they were walking in the said street, two civilian vehicles intercepted them; one of the cars has a governmental registration plate and its driver kept pressing on the horn to disrupt the demonstration. Later on, many police vehicles arrived and opened their horns, and then the policemen got out of the cars, intercepted the demonstration, and arrested Dr. Mohammed Jadallah, a member of the Follow-up Committee, put him in the car by force and transported him to an unknown destination.
Thereafter, members of the Follow-up Committee, secretaries of parties and factions and representatives of independent figures headed to the main office of the Agricultural Relief Committees in Ramallah to hold a press conference on their opposition of direct negotiations and to explain what had happened in the demonstration. Immediately, security forces headed to the area and surrounded the offices of the Agricultural Relief. After convening the conference, participants left the place and security forces left also.
In light of the above, PCHR:
1) Strongly condemns the disruption carried out by groups claimed their affiliation to the Fatah Youth in the sit-in that was called for by the Follow-up Committee, and emphasizes that civilians have a full and legal right to convene public meetings and organize sit-ins and peaceful demonstrations in accordance with the legal rules;
2) Strongly condemns the Palestinian police's interception of the demonstration that followed the sit-in, and further condemns the detention of Dr. Mohammed Jadallah, who is known as one of the Palestinian national figures in Jerusalem;
3) Emphasizes that the police has no right to license or reject any public meeting, peaceful demonstrations, or any other type of peaceful assembly, and that the law provides that organizers should only "inform" the governor or police, as the police has the right to take measures to "organize the traffic"; and
4) Is concerned over the recurrence of attacks against the right to freedom of opinion and the right to peaceful assembly, and stresses that they are guaranteed under the Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights standards.
Date: 26 August 2010
Time: 12:00 GMT
PCHR Condemns Attack by GIS Members on Staff of 'al-Haq' in Ramallah
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the attack launched on Wednesday, 25 August 2010, by members of the General Intelligence Service (GIS) on staff members of 'al-Haq' organization in Ramallah, while documenting GIS's attempts to stop an assembly organized by Palestinian political factions and civil society organizations in protest a decision by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to participate in direct negotiations with Israel. PCHR calls upon the government in Ramallah to respect public freedoms and to ensure respect for the work of human rights organizations and to provide protection for their personnel.
According to statements made by 'al-Haq' and according to Wissam Ahmed, 33, Program Officer at al-Haq, on Wednesday afternoon, 25 August 2010, a number of al-Haq's staff members got out of their offices as they heard noise coming from the main street. They had information that GIS members were attempting to stop the assembly of political and civil society organizations which was scheduled to be organized in the hall of the Protestant Church opposite to al-Haq offices. The assembly was supposed to discuss the positions towards direct negotiations between PNA and the government of Israel. In the meanwhile, Wissam Ahmed, 33, Program Officer at al-Haq, took a video camera and went to the street to film the event, but he was beaten by a person in civilian clothes. Later, it was found out that this person was a GIS member. The camera was taken from Ahmed and thrown onto the ground. After Ahmed had managed to get his camera back, he asked why he was prevented from filming the event. In response, more than 10 GIS members surrounded him and beat him on the head and the neck. They took his camera and pushed him away.
Mrs. Nina Ata Allah, Head of the Observation and Documentation department at 'al-Haq', who intervened to stop the GIS attack on her colleague, was also attacked. A GIS member stepped on her feet. She was injured in the feet as a result and was transferred to the hospital of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Ramallah for treatment. Sources from 'al-Haq' reported that Mr. Shaawan Jabarin, asked some police members who were in the scene about the camera. One of them told him that it was with GIS members.
It should be noted that this attack on staff members of al-Haq is part of attacks launched by the Palestinian security services in Ramallah on a peaceful march which was organized with the participation of members of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Secretaries General of a number of political parties, leaders of the civil society organizations as well as independent figures. Security forces prevented the participants in the march from organizing a press conference which was scheduled to be held in the hall of the Protestant Church. A member of the Executive Committee of the PLO was arrested as well.
In view of the above, PCHR:
1. Strongly condemns this attack by GIS members on staff members of al-Haq and the confiscation of their camera.
2. Reiterates that it is important that the Palestinian security forces respect the work of human rights organizations and to ensure protection to their personnel in all circumstances.
3. Points with concern to the recurrence of attacks on the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to peaceful assembly. PCHR stresses that these two rights are guaranteed by the Palestinian Basic Law and by international human rights instruments.
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