Ref: 38/2012

 

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) is gravely concerned
over summons issued by the Internal Security Service (ISS) against a number of
Fatah members in the Gaza Strip in the past few days.  PCHR calls for stopping such summons and
detention practices under degrading conditions, in order to create an appropriate
atmosphere to promote the internal reconciliation process.


In the past few days, PCHR received a number of complaints from
Fatah members throughout the Gaza Strip that they were summoned or detained
often under humiliating and degrading conditions.  According to information collected by PCHR,
in the past few days, the ISS issued summons against them to go to the ISS’s
offices, each in his area of residence. 
In their testimonies, the complainers said that they received notices to
refer to the ISS’s offices, where they were detained for several hours.  In his testimony to PCHR, a complainer said
the summoned persons receive other notices to refer again to the ISS’s offices
on the following day, after few days or to return to them to be detained under
the same conditions.  Some of the complainers
complained that they had been detained under cruel conditions that include detention
in small cells.  Besides, they were
questioned about their activities as Fatah members in the Gaza Strip and their
provocative role against the government in Gaza under the power crisis that
emerged over a month ago.

 

The summons has been issued against approximately 80 members of
Fatah throughout the Gaza Strip so far, but they have been all released on the
same day.  They said that they were
mainly questioned on allegations of their factional role against the government
in Gaza in light of the power crisis. 
One of Fatah members who were detained said that he was questioned and
subjected to methods of torture, while another person said he was threatened of
a field court-martial and of being shot in the legs in public in case he was
convicted of incitement.

In Rafah, on 23 and 24 March 2012, the ISS summoned 11 members of
Fatah movement.  They were detained
inside the ISS’s office and were released on the same day.  One of the summoned persons said that he was
questioned about his activity and on the provocative statement against the
government in Gaza relevant to the latest power crisis; the statement that was attributed
to Fatah movement.  On 26 March, the ISS
at Rafah International Crossing Point prevented six members of Fatah movement
from traveling and were instructed to appear before the ISS on the beginning of
April.

 

In Khan Yunis, from 18 to 24 March, the ISS delivered bodices to 15
members of Fatah to refer to its head office in Khan Yunis.  The Fatah members had been detained for
several hours, during which they were questioned about their relationship with an
internal circular that was attributed to Fatah movement, claiming that it incited
people against the government in Gaza regarding the power crisis.

 

Moreover, in the central Gaza Strip, on 23 March, the ISS summoned
15 of Fatah members to its head office in Deir al-Balah.  The Fatah members were detained for several
hours and were then released.  One of them
said that he was questioned while he was blindfolded.  He added that an interrogator threatened him
of "a field court-martial" and being shot next time in case he
carried out incitement activities relative to the power crisis against the
government in Gaza.  He also said that he
received another notice to return to the office on 29 March.

 

In Gaza City, on 22 and 23 March, the ISS summoned six members of March
15 Youth Group to the ISS’s head office in Gaza City.  The summoned persons said that they were
questioned about their latest activities and sources of funding, especially the
spontaneous gathering that took place at al-Azhar University intersection in
Gaza City, protesting against the transportation crisis, in addition to the mural
painting of Yasser Arafat and Ahmed Yassin on the university’s wall.  One of them said that he received another
summon.  Moreover, he was questioned about
his relationship with the provocative statement attributed to Fatah on the
power crisis in Gaza.  He was also
subjected to beating, humiliation and methods of torture.  On Sunday, 25 March 2012, the ISS summoned 36
members of Fatah, and detained them in Qaser al-Hakem near Ansar Compound until
13:00 of the following day.  Some of
these members said that they were questioned about certain activities, and they
were accused of incitement and trying to stir up the public opinion on the
power crisis.  These members, who were
detained, were forced to sign an oath not to stir up the public opinion and to
stop any factional activities.

 

In the northern Gaza Strip, on 22 March 2012, the ISS summoned four
Fatah members in Jabalia, including the secretary of Fatah movement in the
northern Gaza Strip.  The four members
were questioned in the ISS’s office, as they intended to organize a memorial service
of the martyr "Kamal Medhat," who was targeted by the Israeli
Occupation Forces in Lebanon two years ago, but the ISS cancelled the memorial
service.  The four members were released a
few hours later.  In another context, on
Friday morning, 23 March, a number of Fatah members in the northern Gaza Strip received
text messages on their cell phones.  The messages
read: "To all those trying to be an accomplice to the crime and to harm
the safety of people, stop and think as the price is high and we will not be
merciful."

 

PCHR is gravely concerned over summons issued against Fatah members
and calls upon the government in Gaza to stop such acts that are carried out on
political grounds.