Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a video, Wednesday, showing plainclothes Palestinian police officers trapping a protester and beating him while he was taking part in a demonstration in support of the Egyptian revolution. The incident, and others that HRW collected testimony from, occurred between Jan. 30 and Feb. 5, during protests in solidarity with the people of Egypt in Ramallah, central West Bank.
‘The Palestinian Authority should open criminal investigations into members of its security services who apparently beat, kicked, and sexually molested protesters in Ramallah,’ a statement from the international rights organization said.
According to HRW testimonies, Palestinian security officials have harassed, questioned, arbitrarily detained and seriously beat demonstrators engaging in peaceful protests.
The organization called on the U.S. and European Union, which provide direct support to the Palestinian security services, to ‘suspend such aid pending concrete steps by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to end a culture of impunity for security service abuses, including torture.’
There were many other unrecorded reports of repression of solidarity protests by the Palestinian Authority during the Egyptian revolution.
Organizers of a rally on January 30 claim that one leader was called in for questioning by police ahead of the event. That evening, 20 armed police, who quickly tried to confiscate cameras, ordered a journalist to turn off her microphone and recorder, an Agence France-Presse reporter said.
On February 2 and 5 more detentions and suppression of protests were reported.
‘The PA has repeatedly responded to peaceful demonstrations with violent attacks, even as its security services enjoy impunity for systematic torture,’ HRW’s Mideast director Sarah Leah Whitson said in the statement.
According to a HRW Report, since January 2009 Palestinians have filed more than 360 complaints of torture against Palestinian security agencies with the Independent Commission for Human Rights.