Ref: 77/2010

 

The
Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the security services’
prevention of delivering a religious speech by Nayef Mahmoud al-Rjoub, Member
of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) for the Change and Reform Bloc, in
Dura Mosque in Hebron, in addition to attacking number of worshipers and
arresting dozens of them. PCHR calls
upon the government in Ramallah to respect the right to freedom of opinion and
expression, which is guaranteed under the Palestinian Basic Law and
international human rights standards, and to stop arbitrary arrests.

 

According
to investigations conducted by PCHR, the testimony of PLC Member Nayef al-Rjoub
and those of a number of eyewitnesses, at approximately 10:30 on Friday, 27
August 2010, dozens of Palestinian policemen, wearing civilian clothes and some
of them carrying guns, entered Dura mosque in the center of Dura town and
spread among the worshipers. Four
policemen moved towards PLC Member Nayef al-Rjoub and requested him to stop the
religious lesson or Friday sermon. Policemen clashed with the supporters of PLC Member Nayef al-Rjoub and
the worshipers. In the meanwhile, a
heavily armed police force broke into the mosque, and the masked policemen
started beating al-Rjoub’s supporters and those who resisted them by clubs.

 

Al-Rjoub
and many worshipers left the mosque heading to Hanina Street in the south of
the town, and moving to "Mojahed" mosque, which is 400 meters away from the
first one. After they had entered the
said mosque, the police force followed them to prevent al-Rjoub again from
delivering the sermon, and cut off the loudspeakers’ cables.

 

Following
the Friday prayer, Palestinian policemen launched a large-scale arrest campaign
through house raids targeting supporters and members of (Hamas) movement. The majority of them included the ones
gathered in the two mosques. Approximately 45 persons, from Dura town and its environs, were
arrested; some of them are supporters and relatives of al-Rajoub. Only 5 of those detainees have been released
so far.

 

PCHR
condemns restrictions imposed on delivering sermons and religious speeches and
arresting worshipers, which are part of measures followed to restrict the right
to freedom of opinion and expression, and:

 

  1. Calls the
    government in Ramallah to respect the right to freedom of opinion and
    expression and the right to peaceful assembly, and not to intervene by
    preventing sermons;
  1. Emphasizes
    that the right to freedom of opinion and expression is guaranteed under
    Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights standards;
  2. Reminds of
    the ruling issued by the Palestinian Supreme Court of Justice on 20
    February 1999, which considers political detention illegal and demands all
    executive bodies respect the Court ruling and stop practicing political
    detention; and
  3. Calls for
    the immediate release of all political detainees who are held by
    Palestinian security services in the West Bank.