Ref: 134/2019

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the Internal Security Service’s (ISS) degrading treatment of Palestinian Minister of Public Works and Housing, Dr, Mohammed Salim Zyara, and his wife at Beit Hanoun Crossing as they returned to Gaza City. PCHR demands that the incident be investigated by the Ministry of Interior and security services, and demands that diplomatic immunity be respected and political figures be treated with due respect. PCHR also demands the cessation of all procedures put in place to restrict the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of movement.

According to PCHR investigations, at approximately 2:15 on Monday, 25 November 2019, ISS held the Minister (63) and his wife, Amal Abdulkarim Tawfiq Zyara (47), while returning home via Beit Hanoun Crossing for two-and-a-half hours before allowing them to cross. During that time, an individual stopped the Minister’s car and asked him to surrender his wife’s cellphone, the Minister refused, asserted his diplomatic immunity and asked the person to identify himself and he revealed that he is an ISS officer. At the time, a group of ISS personnel approached the vehicle and one of them forcibly opened its doors and forced Mrs. Zyara out in an offensive manner pulling her from her hand. She was later allowed back into the vehicle.

It should be mentioned that ISS had raided the Minister’s Gaza office on Thursday morning, 21 November 2019, during which they questioned staff and collected their personal information before leaving.

For their part, the Ministry of Interior – Gaza denied assaulting or detaining Dr and Mrs. Zyara without providing other details, in a statement by its spokesperson to Alray news agency.

PCHR condemns Gaza security services’ conduct with the Minister and his spouse and their degrading treatment, and asserts that there is no justification for detaining a prominent figure such as the Minister for two hours on a Palestinian security checkpoint. Furthermore, it is not allowed to confiscate or search civilians’ cellphones without a warrant issued by a judge. PCHR demands that concerned authorities stop these practices and respect the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of movement.