Thursday, January 20, 2011

Torture of Palestinians sparks concerns

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PressTV - Torture of Palestinians sparks concerns:

Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:44PM
Fareena Alam, Press TV, London

"It's a situation that has worried human rights observers for some years, but now they say torture of Palestinians by the Palestinian Authority is increasingly becoming the norm, not the exception.

This new report launched in London, documents victim and witness statements about the frequent use of harsh torture methods. The victims mainly belong to rival factions of the Palestinian authorities, caught in a revolving door of detention whereby they are transferred from Israeli custody straight into the hands of their tormentors from PA.
Since Hamas took control of the Gaza strip back in July 2007, political arrests of opposition members have become commonplace both in the Fatah-ruled West Bank and in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian Authority has recently ordered its security agencies operating in the West Bank to refrain from issuing military arrest warrants against civilians and that civilians should only be tried in civil rather than military courts.
According to the Palestinian Basic Law all suspects must be brought before a judge within 24 hours of their arrest, and that the judge may extend their custody by 15 days.
But under the PLO revolutionary penal code of 1979 which serves a the legal basis for the military arrests, a suspect may be detained for months without trial or hearing.
Press TV contacted Palestinian officials in London for comment but no response was forthcoming. The same was sought by the report authors in Palestine, to no avail.
Some say European countries can play an important role in making sure that the Palestinian Authority respects the rule of law and human rights. The EU is the Palestinian Authority's largest donor, and many Palestinian Authority officials pass through the UK where human rights experts say the legal system could be used to hold them accountable.

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