The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the continued arbitrary political arrests carried out by Palestinian security services in the West Bank targeting members of Hamas, who are subjected to detention and maltreatment in violation of the law. The latest arrests wave, which is part of an arbitrary arrest campaign against members of Hamas movement following an armed attack against Israeli settlers near Hebron, was carried out against dozens of Palestinian civilians in Hebron.

PCHR reiterates its calls upon the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and its security services to refrain from carrying out arbitrary arrest campaigns, immediately release all the political prisoners and put an end to political arrests.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, on the eve of and during the days of Eid al-Fitr, Palestinian security services, especially the Preventive Security Service (PSS) and the General Intelligence Service (GIS), backed by the National Security Service, have resumed arrest campaigns targeting activists and members of Hamas in Hebron.

During the past three days, PCHR managed to observe and document the detention of approximately 60 civilians by the PSS and GIS.

The new arrest campaign targeted traders, students, university professors, employees, muezzins, professionals from different fields, teachers and activists in charitable organizations. PCHR notes that those who have been arrested since late July have been denied access to family visitation and legal counsel. There is initial information that some of the detainees are subjected to maltreatment.

This new campaign is a continuation of an arrest campaign which has been carried out by Palestinian security services following an armed attack by the Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) on 31 August 2010, in which four Israeli settlers were killed. At least 150 members and supporters of Hamas have been so far arrested in the West Bank.

PCHR reiterates its condemnation of political arrests and of the accompanying torture crimes committed against detainees, and:

1. Reminds of the Palestinian Higher Court ruling of 20 February 1999 that provides for the illegality of political arrests. All the executive authorities must respect this court ruling and abstain from carrying out illegal political arrests.

2. Stresses that arrests are regulated by the Palestinian law and fall under the jurisdiction of the law enforcement officers, including the civil police, who are directly supervised by the Attorney General.

3. Demands the immediate release of political prisoners who are detained by the security services in the West Bank.

Public Document


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