Ref: 54/2012


The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)
condemns the break-up of the concluding colloquium of the Palestine Festival of Literature,
which was being held in the ancient al-Bahash Castle in Gaza City, by
Palestinian security forces on Wednesday, 09 May 2012.  PCHR stresses that this measure constitutes a
violation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to
peaceful assembly, which are ensured under the Palestinian Basic Law. 


According to investigations conducted by PCHR,
at approximately 17:00 on Wednesday, 09 May 2012, the concluding colloquium of
the Palestine Festival of Literature
was initiated in the ancient al-Bashal Castle in the east of Gaza City, with a
number of Arab poets and writers in attendance. 
The colloquium was opened with a speech by ‘Amru ‘Izzat, an Egyptian
blogger, who talked about liberty. 
Following the opening of the colloquium, a security officer wearing
civilian clothes arrived at the place and introduced himself as a member of the
Palestinian police investigation department. 
He cut off the electricity and requested the attendees to leave the
place.  Shortly after this occurred, a
number of security officers were deployed to the place when attendees refused
to leave.  They confiscated cameras that
had filmed the colloquium, chaos spread and the colloquium was broken up.   At approximately 18:30, the colloquium
resumed at al-Quds International Hotel in the west of Gaza City. 


PCHR condemns breaking up the colloquium, and:

1. Calls upon the government and security services in Gaza to
abstain from intervening into conferences and meetings held in closed places,
because they do not need to notify concerned authorities about these events; 

2. Calls for abolishing the Executive Regulation
of the Public Meetings Law issued by the late Palestinian President