PA cracks down on West Bank activists

GettyImages 1230219791

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Akram Salameh from the Beitunia district of Ramallah, within the central West Bank, acquired a telephone name May 22 from the Palestinian Authority’s General Intelligence Service. He was instructed to seem at its headquarters in Ramallah the following day or his home could be raided and he could be arrested. 

Salameh confirmed up as requested and was despatched to the Joint Security Committee jail in Jericho, the place he was detained for 17 days earlier than being launched on June 7. 

His father, Ali Salameh, instructed Al-Monitor he spoke to his son by telephone twice throughout his detention for a couple of minutes. The first time, two days after his arrest, Akram requested his father to ship him garments. The second time he known as to verify on his household, who had not been in a position to go to him.

Over the years Salameh was arrested a number of instances by each Israeli and Palestinian safety companies. His father mentioned, “My son suffers back pain and convulsions due to the repeated arrests by the PA. He has been subject to a torture technique known as shabeh [which involves suspension by the wrists] in previous arrests. He was also arrested by Israeli forces twice. The first time was nine years ago and the second was several months ago. At the Israeli prison, he was hit on the head by a soldier and had to have surgery.”

He added, “Every time he was arrested by the PA, costs could be introduced towards him of inciting sectarian strife. Where did they give you such an accusation? He was merely arrested due to his political affiliation, of being affiliated with Hamas.” 

Since the cease-fire between Hamas and Israel was introduced on May 20, the PA safety companies have been cracking down on Hamas supporters and social media activists within the West Bank.

Tariq Khudairi from Ramallah is one other alleged political detainee. The Preventive Security Service arrested him on May 22 and likewise despatched him to the Joint Security Committee facility in Jericho. He was accused of insulting late President Yasser Arafat throughout a rally in Ramallah, however he was launched on May 25.

In a May 24 tweet, Amnesty International criticized political arrests in the West Bank and called for stopping the repression of peaceful dissent. It urged Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh to immediately release Khudairi, who it said was arbitrarily detained for exercising his right to freedom of expression.

Lawyers for Justice, a group that works against political arrests in the Palestinian territories, said in a May 29 statement, “Many of these detainees have been suspended from the ceiling, beaten and insulted after being taken from their homes to the Joint Security Committee prison in Jericho.”  

Muhannad Karajeh, director of Lawyers for Justice, told Al-Monitor, “The security services have been leading a campaign of arrests in the West Bank since the beginning of the solidarity activities in support of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the war on Gaza.”

Karajeh said the group has documented several summons to the headquarters of the security services and varying periods of detention on charges of disparaging the PA and inciting sectarian strife. He noted that the group documented 22 suspicious arrests or summons. “Some of the detainees were released after a matter of hours, but nine remain in the Jericho prison and the group is working on their cases,” he asserted.

There is no official count of all political summons and arrests that took place in the West Bank recently, as each human rights organization documents such cases independently.

Karajeh voiced his surprise at the political arrests, especially after President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree guaranteeing public freedoms on Feb. 20.

The PA denies carrying out political arrests despite the reports of human rights organizations.

But Abbas’ decree seems to confirm the problem exists. The decree forbids prosecution, imprisonment, arrest, detention and extrajudicial investigation in cases concerning freedom of opinion and political affiliation. The decree also called for the release of detainees and prisoners held in custody for justifications involving freedom of opinion, political affiliation or for any other partisan reasons across the territories of Palestine. 

Maj. Gen. Talal Dweikat, spokesperson for the PA security services, told Al-Monitor, “Talk about a campaign of political arrests is absolutely not true. There are certainly no political arrests in the West Bank.”

How does one “unintentionally” “search to hurt the PA”? Did he say one thing else?

Commenting on complaints filed to human rights organizations about these arrests, Dweikat defined, “Some are stirring confusion in the street or harming the PA, intentionally or unintentionally. The security institution has not, for a while now, summoned or arrested anyone for political reasons.”

Ammar Dweik, director of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, instructed Al-Monitor, “We believe that complaints by citizens about the arrest of some of their family members by the security services for varying periods are related to political activity and posts on social media.”

Dweik mentioned that the fee is at present involved with the case of 4 younger males at present in jail. “During the last period, more than 20 people were summoned and detained for more than 24 hours. The commission rejects the practice of political arrests or … for expressing an opinion.”

He identified that the fee requires the fast launch of detainees. “If they are not released, the commission asks to visit them within 24 hours,” he concluded.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button

Adblocker detected! Please consider reading this notice.

We've detected that you are using AdBlock Plus or some other adblocking software which is preventing the page from fully loading. We don't have any banner, Flash, animation, obnoxious sound, or popup ad. We do not implement these annoying types of ads! We need money to operate the site, and almost all of it comes from our online advertising. Please add to your ad blocking whitelist or disable your adblocking software.