Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) warns of a possible repletion of the tragedy of journalist Nizar Banat – who died as a result of torture at the hand of the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces – due to an increase of violence against political detainees and activists in the PA’s Jericho prison, where the Authority appears to be taking revenge on its political opponents.
A number of political detainees, arrested in mysterious circumstances last week, were brought before the court today (14 June) and showed signs of serious mistreatment. Despite testifying to the court that they were subjected to brutal torture inside Jericho prison, the judge ordered that their detention be extended.
Ahmed Harish, who appeared before court today, was unable to move his head or limbs without difficulty and showed signs of beatings. However, the judge extended his detention for 15 days without charge.
According to Harish’s family, Ahmed has been subjected to severe torture, including being restrained for long periods, beaten with batons, in addition to being permanently blindfolded.
The family, who attended the court session, have reported that the judge did not ask Harish any questions about his arrest, the reasons for which are still unknown, and instead only verified his personal information.
The lawyer and activist Ahmed al-Khasib was also amongst those detainees in court today. Al-Khasib also showed physical signs of torture, as he confirmed had occurred in Jericho prison.
According to the al-Khasib family, Ahmed was kidnapped 6 days ago in front of his local mosque after dawn prayers by security personnel in civilian clothes, who did not give a reason for his arrest. He remains without charge.
AOHR UK affirms that the PA’s security forces’ use of torture against political detainees – including the harshest forms of physical and psychological abuse – is ultimately the responsibility of the international community, which provides material and moral aid to the Authority.
AOHR UK further affirms the need for an investigation into the Authority’s security services’ actions, and that those responsible should be referred to the judiciary.