By Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, October 5, 2016
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the Palestinian security services dispersing a peaceful protest in Ramallah yesterday, which was organized by “Youth Movement”, and beating a number of participants, including a lawyer at al-Dameer Association for Supporting Prisoners and Human Rights. Moreover, PCHR calls for a serious investigation into these attacks and bringing the perpetrators to justice. PCHR further stresses the right to peaceful assembly is a basic human right guaranteed in the Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights conventions.
According to PCHR’s investigations and statements of eyewitnesses, at approximately 15:30 on Tuesday, 04 October 2016, dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered at al-Sa’ah intersection in the center of Ramallah to organize a peaceful protest upon an invitation launched by “Youth Movement” in protest against the Israeli practices as well as the Palestinian President’s participation in the funeral of the former Israeli President Shimon Peres in occupied Jerusalem on Friday, 30 September 2016. Before this protest headed to al-Manarah intersection, another protest called for by Fatah movement in support of President Abbas had arrived at the same place and was guarded by Palestinian security officers. A number of persons, who were allegedly identified as security officers and Fatah members attacked the participants in the first protest by clubs. As a result, some of the participants sustained wounds and bruises. Among the wounded persons was Mohanned Karaja (32), al-Dameer lawyer. He sustained a wound below his left eye and bruises throughout his body. PCHR’s fieldworker said that clubs used in the attack were the same of the Palestinian security services. Moreover, the police officers who were in their uniforms did not intervene to stop the assault.
Lawyer Karaja said to PCHR’s fieldworker that he was present in the peaceful protest called for by the “Youth Movement” in his capacity as al-Dameer lawyer to document any violations. Karaja added that 15 minutes after the protest started, another protest supporting President Abbas arrived. Meanwhile, members of the other protest started attacking participants of the first protest, including women. Karaja highlighted that while attempting to protect women, who were attacked by security officers from the Preventive, Intelligence and Investigation Security Services whom he knows as a lawyer working on political detainees’ cases before courts, Karaja was harshly attacked and beaten up. Some of Fatah members joined the security officers in attacking him. Karaja said, “…They started hitting my head, back and legs and then pushed me to the ground. They stepped on my body and tore up my suit while insulting me, my family, my wife and the profession of lawyers”.
In this context, PCHR underscores the right to peaceful assembly is constitutionally guaranteed according to article (26-5) of the Palestinian Basic Law and Public Meetings’ Law no. 12/1998; and:
- Calls upon the Attorney General in Ramallah to seriously investigate these attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice;
- Calls upon the competent authorities in the Palestinian government to take the necessary measures to stop such attacks and show respect for public freedoms that are constitutionally ensured according to the international human rights standards; and
- Calls upon the security services to respect human rights that are guaranteed in the local laws and relevant international standards.