Ref:82/2012

 

The Palestinian
Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is concerned about the decisions issued by the
Attorney General in Gaza to ban the travel of Osama Jaber Khail, Director of
the Palestinian Contractors Union, on the ground of a press release, in
addition to 8 journalists on the ground of their activity in the Journalists’ Syndicate,
whose head office is in the West Bank.  PCHR
believes that these decisions are unjustified and may restrict the right to the
freedom of opinion and expression, the right to form unions and associations
and join them, and the right to the freedom of movement, which are all
guaranteed under the Basic Law and related international human rights
standards.

 

According to
investigations conducted by PCHR and a statement from Osama Jaber Khail, at
approximately 14:45 on Tuesday, 24 July 2012, Mr. Khail received a text message
stating that he had been prevented from traveling until investigations regarding
him are concluded.  The message was
signed with “Associations Prosecution, the Attorney General’s Office.”  On Thursday, 19 July 2012, Mr. Khail was
summoned by the Attorney General to be questioned about a press release he had made
more than a month ago prior to the summons. 
The press release was about types of cement that were invalid for
construction and smuggled through the tunnels, in addition to the role of the
Ministry of National Economy and Public Works in examining materials and
monitoring concrete industry companies. 
Mr. Khail was questioned for 3 days before he was prevented from
traveling until the investigation is concluded.

 

It should be
noted that Mr. Khail was detained last year when he was questioned by the
Attorney General, and that he was also prevented from traveling then on the
grounds of issuing a press release.  In that
press release, he criticized measures followed by the Gaza Municipality to
start a project improving the Feras Market area without bids or competition
between investors.  As a result, the
project was suspended and offered in due process.

 

In the same context,
on 26 July 2012, journalist Tahseen al-Astal, Deputy Director of the Journalists’
Syndicate (located in Ramallah), was orally informed by the Attorney General
that he was prevented from traveling, as he had been questioned by the
Associations Prosecution on a complaint presented by the Deputy Director of the
Journalists Syndicate in Gaza.  On 29
July 2012, the Attorney General told al-Astal that the 7 members of the Syndicate’s
Board of Directors in Gaza are prevented from traveling until investigations are
concluded.  In his statement to PCHR’s
fieldworker, al-Astal said that he was questioned about the Syndicate’s
elections, which were conducted in the West Bank, and how the e-voting of the
Gaza Strip’s journalists violates the Syndicate’s regulations.  Al-Astal added that the Attorney General
requested he sign a bond that he would never work for the interest of the Syndicate
again, nor represent it locally or internationally, but al-Astal refused to do
so.

  

In view of the
above:


1. PCHR denounces the decisions issued by the Attorney General to
prevent Palestinians from traveling and restrict their movement on the grounds
of the right to the freedom of opinion and expression and joining unions, which
is constitutionally guaranteed according to relevant international standards;
and


2. PCHR believes that these decisions are unjustified, especially as they
violate the regulations of the union, as association is one of the union’s
powers and the decision does not reach the necessary level of severity to
require the intervention of the Attorney General.