Palestinian Public Intelligence Department harasses journalist Mohammed Shtewei

Arab Organisation for Human Rights in UK (AOHR UK) revealed that Palestinian Authority (PA) security services are still adamant to arrest and summon Palestinian activists and journalists especially those who support Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons who have gone on a hunger strike.

Political arrests and summons have significantly increased in the West Bank following the reconciliation agreement between Palestinian groups. And although all security forces in the West Bank are under the direct command of President Mahmoud Abbas he is yet to issue an order to put an end to these arrests and release all political prisoners to ensure the success of the reconciliation agreement.

What is most striking in the testimonies of those who had been summoned or arrested is that security forces have been openly expressing their disdain for the reconciliation agreement. Security officers told detainees that arrests and summons would not impact the reconciliation agreement.

AOHR UK received a complaint from the Palestinian journalist Mohammed Mohammed Shtewei, 45 and married with three children, who also works as a lecturer at Khdouri University.  According to Shtewei, an intelligence officer contacted him at 11p.m. on Tuesday the 27th of May 2014 to summon him to his office the following day.

Considering Shtewei’s painful history with PA security forces- he was arrested and tortured on 11 different occasions in the past- he decided not to go.  In addition to the arrests and torture, Shtewei was summoned by security forces scores of times and, on one particular occasion, his passport was taken away preventing him for travel for a year and a half  (August 2011-February 2013).  Over a period of four months, Shtewei would spend every day from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. being interrogated, humiliated and tortured. The daily interviews gravely affected his work and family life.

Shtewei is still adamant not to answer the most recent summons regardless of the consequences. “If I am arrested, I will go on an open-ended hunger strike because I refuse to live without my sense of dignity even under occupation.”

AOHR UK issued a statement on the 20th of May 2014 detailing some of the cases of arrest and torture by PA security forces. One of the documented cases was that of Mus’ab Adnan Al-Husari who was arrested and tortured by PA intelligence services on the 12th of May 2014 as punishment for his support for his father who has gone on a hunger strike in Israeli prisons. AOHR UK today learned that Mus’ab was arrested by Israeli occupation forces on the 27th of May 2014.

 AOHR UK urges President Mahmoud Abbas to put an end to all security services activities in the West Bank and refrain from summoning and arresting Palestinian activists because these policies serve no one but the Israeli occupation.  The Organisation also calls upon all Palestinians to stand up to the PA policy of security coordination and political arrests in order to ensure the success of the reconciliation and the Palestinian National project.