Over the past couple of months, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights have documented a increasing number of arrest and summoning incidents directed against political and social activists in the Gaza Strip.
According to information collected by Al Mezan, 40 individuals have been summoned during the above period, 11 of whom were detained for some time, and 6 of them are still in detention.
Most of the victims have been summoned on more than one occasion, and several others have had their houses searched by security forces.
A number of laptops and other personal belongings have also been confiscated.
This is in addition to the recent attorney general’s decision to shutter Al Arabiya and Maan offices in addition to several other T.
channels and in light of the absence of any serious investigation, which Al Mezan’s requests to see evidence of have all been turned down.
Al Mezan believes the actors behind this detention and summoning campaign do not enjoy a legal status to exercise these acts which constitute a breach of basic legal procedures.
Moreover, most of the investigations are mostly on issues surrounding their political activism, including distribution of amounts of money to a number of families of Fatah-affiliated individuals who were injured or killed during the internal infighting between Hamas and Fatah in 2007.
During the interrogations, most of the detainees were illegally pressured and forced to disclose their e-mail and Facebook’s passwords.
Al Mezan expresses its concern as this campaign escalates and points out that the amended Palestinian Basic Law of 2005 ensures per article (11) that “Personal freedom is a natural right, and shall be guaranteed and protected,” and that “[it] is unlawful to arrest, search, imprison, restrict the freedom, or prevent the movement of, any person, except by judicial order in accordance with the provisions of law,” while it states in article (12) that “[every] arrested or detained person shall be informed of the reason for their arrest or detention.
They shall be promptly informed, in a language they understand, of the nature of the charges brought against them.
They shall have the right to contact a lawyer and to be tried before a court without delay.
” Article (19) of the same law states that “[freedom] of opinion may not be prejudiced.
Every person shall have the right to express his opinion and to circulate it orally, in writing or in any form of expression or art, with due consideration to the provisions of the law,” while article (26) guarantees individuals’ right to participate in political life including forming and joining political parties.
Furthermore, the criminal procedure law no.
3 of 2001 states the required procedures that must be followed when an arrest, inspection and investigation takes place and specifies the parties that have the legal status necessary to exercise such actions.
Finally, Al Mezan calls on the government in Gaza to take all necessary procedures necessary to ensure protection of rights particularly the right to freedom of opinion and expression and to work towards the implementation and respect of the rule of law at all times.
Al Mezan also demands that the government open serious investigations into the above violations and inflicts necessary punishment on perpetrators in accordance with law in order to ensure such violations are not repeated again.