Ref: 53/2011

  

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) calls for a serious
investigation into the killing of Ismail Abu Taha by a militant who claimed to
be a member of the police investigation department in the southern Gaza Strip
town of Khan Yunis. PCHR also calls for an investigation into the
death of Hassan al-Hmaidi and the wounding of Abdullah Abu Mughassib, both from
Wadi al-Salqa village in the central Gaza Strip, while in detention by the
anti-drug police in Deir al-Balah. PCHR
calls for an open investigation with the results being published and for the
prosecution of the perpetrators. 


 

According to investigations conducted by PCHR and testimonies from
the families of the victims, at approximately 17:35 on Friday, 10 June 2011,
medical sources at Nasser Hospital in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis, declared that
Ismail Adnan Abu Taha, 23, was killed by a bullet that entered the left arm and
came to rest in his heart. The victim’s
father, Adnan Yousef Abu Taha, an eyewitness, started to PCHR:

 

“At approximately 17:00 on Friday, I was walking near my house in
the ICRC Street
in Sheikh Nasser area in Khan Yunis. I
saw my son, Ismail, driving a red truck. He was debating with two persons who were riding a motorcycle. I got close to them and requested my son to
go away. I asked the two persons about
the issue. They told me that they are
members of the police investigation department. They beat my son. I attempted to
protect my son, but they pushed me down. They repeatedly said that they were members of the police investigation
department. One of them pointed his
pistol at my son and fired a bullet. My
son was wounded in the left arm. The two
persons then fled the scene. I called an
ambulance, but medical crews told me that I had to contact the police first in
order for them to be able to respond to the scene. I immediately transported my son in a
civilian car to Nasser
Hospital. He was still alive at that time. About 15 minutes later, doctors informed me
that he died because he was hit by a bullet that entered his left arm and
settled in the heart.” 

 

Major Raed al-Qidwa, chief of the police investigation department
in Khan Yunis, was quoted on the website of Palestine Today[1]
on Sunday morning, 12 June 2011 as saying that initial investigations indicated
that the incident took place as a result of a dispute on the road between the
perpetrator, who was riding a motorcycle accompanied by another person, and the
victim, who was driving a commercial truck on the road leading to Wednesday
Market. The Palestinian police also issued
a statement on its website[2]
on Sunday. The police stated: “The Palestinian police confirmed that Abu Taha
was killed by an unintentional and mistaken bullet.”

 

Medical sources stated to PCHR that ambulances cannot respond to family
disputes without the presence of the Palestinian police, due to the recurrence
of attacks against ambulances and medical crews during family disputes.

 

In another incident, on Saturday morning, 12 June 2011, the family
of Hassan Mohammed Al-Hmaidi, 24, from Wadi al-Salqa village east of the
central Gaza Strip town of Deir al-Balah, was
informed by medical sources at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City
that he died on Friday evening, 10 June 2011. Al-Hmaidi had been admitted into Shifa Hospital
from al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah on 03 June 2011, after he had
been arrested together with another two persons from his area by the anti-drug
police. Al-Hmaidi was transferred to
al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in a very serious condition. The victim’s brother, Ali Mohammed al-Hmaidi,
stated to PCHR:

 

“At approximately 12:00 on Sunday, 05 June 2011, I visited my
brother, Hassan, in the intensive care unit at Shifa Hospital. He was in a coma. I could see bruises on his face and limbs,
but the police officer guarding him forced me to leave…”

 

Police sources in Deir al-Balah stated to PCHR that al-Hmaidi was
suffering from epilepsy and he hit his head on a solid object, which caused
cerebral bleeding at which point he was evacuated to al-Aqsa Marturs
Hospital. However, al-Hmaidi’s father
stated to PCHR that his son was not suffering from epilepsy, or any other
disease. 

 

In the same context, Abdullah Braik Abu Mughassib, 23, from Wadi
al-Salqa village, was admitted into al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah
on 03 June 2011, with a bullet wound to his foot. Abu Mughassib claimed that he
was wounded when he was in custody by the anti-drug police on the same
day. His brother, Mahmoud Abu Mughassib,
stated to PCHR:

 

“On Friday morning, 03 June 2011, I received a phone call from a
friend of mine, who informed me that my brother was arrested earlier in the
morning by the anti-drug police, and that he was receiving medical treatment at
al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital as he was wounded by a bullet to the foot… At
approximately 08:00 on the same day, I received a phone call from my brother
who informed me that he was receiving medical treatment at Shifa Hospital
in Gaza City as police officers hit him on the
wounded foot, which caused deterioration to his health condition…”

 

It should be noted that the anti-drug police carried out a wave of
arrests on Friday morning, 03 June 2011, in Wadi al-Salqa village in the
central Gaza Strip against suspected drug dealers. 

 

In light of the above:

 

1.   1-  PCHR
calls upon the government in Gaza
to seriously investigate the killing of Ismail Abu Taha and bring the perpetrators
to justice. 

2.   2-  PCHR
calls also for investigating the death of Hassan al-Hmaidi after he had been
arrested by the anti-drug police. PCHR
is concerned that he might have been subject to torture.

3.   3-  PCHR
further calls for investigating wounding Abdullah Abu Mughassib, especially as
his family claim that he was wounded while in custody by the anti-drug
police. 

4.  4- PCHR
reminds that torture is prohibited under the Palestinian law, and constitutes a
violation of international human rights instruments, particularly the
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment of 1984. PCHR emphasizes that
torture crimes are not subject to prescription limitation, and remains
punishable all the time.