The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the Palestinian Security Services’ non-compliance with the decision of Ramallah Appeal Court to release 5 civilian prisoners. PCHR is severely concerned over the arbitrary use of power by the executive authorities, their disregard for the constitutional principle of separation of powers, and continuous use of arbitrary detention of political prisoners. PCHR also calls upon the National Unity Government to comply with the Palestinian Judiciary’s decisions, immediately release those the court ruled to release, release all political prisoners, and completely close this file in the West Bank and Gaza strip as well.
According to complaints PCHR received, some arrestees whom the Ramallah Appeal Court ruled to release are so far imprisoned by the Preventive Security Service (PSS) in Qalqiliya without any certain legal charge and no proper legal proceedings.
On 08 February 2018, the Ramallah Court of Appeal issued a decision to release Ibrahim ‘Issam Rashid Zaid; Maysarah Mahmoud Mohammed ‘Afanah; Lo’ay Mohammed Yousif Dawoud; Ahmed Hussein ‘Abdullah Dawoud; Mahmoud Mohammed ‘Ali Sobhi Dawoud, Saleh Mustafa As’ad Dawoud and ‘Abdullah Zuhair Tawfiq Khalil Walwil on bail of JD2000 for each in addition to paying a fee of NIS300. After completing all required procedures in the same day, the prisoners were surprised that the PSS refused to apply the court’s decision continue arrested them illegally. Few days later, the Court’s decision was appealed, but on 12 February 2018 the Court ruled to reject the appeal and uphold the release order. The decision ruled to “release the abovementioned persons except those detained or sentenced on other charges. The ordered bail was paid, but the PSS continued to detain them without any justification. Two of the arrestees were only released as they are ill and identified as Mahmoud Mohammed Sobhi Dawoud, who was continuously vomiting blood, and ‘Abdullah zuhair Tawfiq Khalil Qalwil, who suffers epileptic seizures and blackouts.
It should be mentioned that the seven persons were arrested between 05 September and 05 October 2017 and spent the first month of detention without being brought before a court or being charged known as “the detention on behalf of the Governor.” The PSS submitted indictments without any evidence to extend their detention until now despite the court’s decision to release them. After two months of their detention, the prisoners went into a hunger strike; as a result, the PSS practiced huge pressures to force them to end their strike; otherwise, their case will not be considered.
It should be mentioned that the 7 arrestees were former prisoners in the Israeli jails and have suffered from political detention for different periods as some of them were arrested for years. Moreover, some of them suffered from different diseases. The abovementioned arrestees went into a hunger strike twice; in the first time promises were made to release them within two weeks and in the second time they were threatened their case will not be considered if they continue their strike.
The conduct of PSS violates Article 106 of the Palestinian Basic Law (106) which provides that “The implementation of judicial rulings is mandatory; and refraining from or obstructing their implementation in any manner whatsoever shall be considered a crime punishable by imprisonment or dismissal from position if the accused is a public servant or assigned to public service, and persons who benefit from such rulings have the right to appeal to a competent court, and the Palestinian National Authority shall ensure full reparation.” It also violates the ruling issued by the Palestinian Supreme Court of Justice on 20 February 1999, which considers political detention illegal, and demands all executive bodies to respect the court’s ruling and cease the practice of political detention.
In light of the above, PCHR:
- Calls upon the executive authority and its civil and security services to respect the judiciary’s decisions, immediately implement them and end the policy of arbitrary detention of Palestinian civilians; and
- Calls upon the Attorney General to enforce the law and oblige the law enforcement officials to respect and apply the Palestinian Supreme Court of Justice and hold those violating the legitimate order accountable according to the Palestinian Law provisions.