In the evening hours on Friday 31 August 2012, the Gaza Government’s internal security apparatus prohibited a mass wedding that had been arranged by Fatah parliament block in the Ash-Shalehat resort in Gaza City.
According to information collected by the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, the mass wedding ceremony was a social occasion for 21 couples from poor families and detainees relatives.
In her affidavit to Al Mezan, Mrs.
Amad Hamad, Fatah central committee member and one of the ceremony organizers, stated that the Fatah parliament block had followed all the legal applicable procedures to carry out the ceremony.
She added that they applied to the police to have permission to hold the ceremony a week before its due date.
They obtained a written consent signed by the police director Mr.
Tayseer Al Batsh.
They handed the letter to Ash-Shalihat director.
The block started to decorate the resort, erect a stage, and prepare places for the audience.
The block decided to hold the ceremony at 7:30 pm on Friday 31 August 2012.
Hamad added that at approximately 11:30 am on Friday 31 August 2012, she received a phone call from the Ash-Shalihat director informing her about the ban of the ceremony.
After that she was informed that at approximately 1:00 pm on the same day, the director of the internal security apparatus had phoned the director of public relations of the parliament block and informed him about the prohibition of the ceremony.
Fatah leaders communicated with Hamas leaders in an attempt to carry out the ceremony but it was in vain.
At approximately 3:00 pm on the same day, a number of internal security members broke into the Ash-Shalihat and removed pictures and decorations and erected checkpoints in the vicinity of Ash-Shalihat and prevented people from going there.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemns the prohibition of holding a mass wedding ceremony in a closed hall.
Al Mezan asserts that the Palestinian Public Meetings Law No.
12 of 1998 provides protections and safeguards that guarantee citizens’ right to organize public meetings without conditioning them on obtaining prior license from the authorities.
The only procedure required by the law when a public meeting is organized is limited to informing - in writing – the Governor or the Chief of the Police of the meeting at least 48 hours prior to implementing it.
In case the organizers do not receive a response, also in writing, they automatically have the right to organize the meeting in the planned time and place.
Al Mezan, therefore, calls on the Gaza Government to investigate this incident, take necessary procedures to facilitate holding public meetings in close halls, and provide protection for these meetings from law enforcement officers.