The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the wide-scale campaign of arrests waged by Palestinian security services in the West Bank, which targeted dozens of members of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in the past 24 hours. PCHR calls upon the Palestinian government in Ramallah to fully comply with the law and stop political arrests.According to investigations conducted by PCHR, the Preventive Security Service (PSS) and the General Intelligence Service (GIS) have arrested 71 members of Hamas. According to PCHR’s field workers in the West Bank, these detainees were first summoned by phone to the headquarters of the 2 services, where they were then arrested, and/or were arrested from their houses or workplaces. The detainees include a number of leaders of Hamas, reconciliation figures, ex-prisoners, journalists, youth activists and university students.

The most prominent persons arrested by the security services include: Fu’ad Nazem al-Khuffash (43), Director of Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights; Waleed Khaled Ali (45), Director of the Office of Palestine Daily in Salfit; and Sheikh Riad Rasheed al-Walweel (53), a prominent reconciliation figure in the West Bank.

Palestinian security services arrested 19 persons in Salfit, 18 in Tulkarm, 15 in Qalqilya, 11 in Nablus, 6 in Hebron, 1 in Jenin and 1 in Ramallah.
(PCHR has a list of the detainees.)

PCHR reiterates its condemnation of political detention, and:

1- Stresses that “personal liberty is a natural rights that is guaranteed and must not be violated,” according to the Palestinian Basic Law, which also prohibits “arresting, checking, detaining or limiting the freedom of any person or preventing his/her movement without a judicial warrant” and guarantees that “any persons who arrested or detained must be informed of the reasons for his/her arrest or detention;”

2- Reminds the Palestinian Supreme Court of Justice of the ruling on 20 February 1999, which considers political detention illegal, and demands all executive bodies to respect the Court’s ruling and refrain from practicing political detention;

3- Emphasizes that detention is governed by Palestinian law and falls within the competence of judicial warranty officers, represented by the police, under direct supervision of the Attorney-General; and

4- Calls for the immediate release of all political detainees who are held by the Palestinian security services in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.