The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns attacks against offices of the Fatah movement and affiliated institutions in Gaza City, as well as attacks against the campus of al-Azhar University in Gaza, in which dozens of people have been arrested. PCHR calls upon the dismissed Palestinian government in Gaza to end these attacks, and to respect the right to association and other rights and public freedoms.According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 20:30 on Saturday, 29 December 2007, the Palestinian police raided an office of the Fatah movement in al-Remal neighborhood in the west of Gaza City. They confiscated a computer, a photocopier, a fax machine, a scanner, documents, photographs and Fatah flags.
They also arrested 6 people who were in the office. One of the detainees, who was later released, told PCHR that the police forced them to sign documents pledging not to participate in any activities related to the anniversary of the Fatah movement, and if they did not commit to this pledge, they would be required to pay a US $ 4,000 fine.
At approximately 23:30 on the same day, the police, accompanied by masked militants in civilian clothes, raided a building in al-Daraj neighborhood in the east of Gaza City, which included premises of the Fatah movement and the Abu Jihad Association. The
Police confiscated furniture and equipment from the two offices, and also destroyed Fatah photographs and flags.
At approximately 00:30 on Sunday, 30 December 2007, the police, accompanied by masked militants in civilian clothes, raided the headquarters of the Fatah movement near Ansar security compound in the west of Gaza City. They broke down the door and confiscated equipment. At the same time, police also raided the office of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). In this incident they also broke down the doors and confiscated equipment.
At approximately 17:00 on Friday, 28 December 2007, the Palestinian police raided the campus of al-Azhar University in the west of Gaza City. They arrested 35 students who were preparing for the celebration of the anniversary of the Fatah movement. The detainees were taken to al-Abbas police station, where they were forced to sign documents pledging not to participate in any activity related to the Fatah anniversary, and told that if they did not commit they would be detained for 15 days and have to pay a US $ 4,000-US$ fine.
PCHR calls upon the dismissed Palestinian government to immediately end such attacks, and ensure their non-recurrence. PCHR also asserts that:
1) Respect for the right to association and other right and public freedoms is constitutionally ensured.
2) Respect for universities and academic institutions is a basic and total necessity.
3) All arrests must regulated by Palestinian law, and fall under the mandate and warranty officials represented by the police and supervised by the Attorney-General.