Ref: 95/2009

Date: 11 August 2009

Time: 08:30 GMT

 

PCHR Calls Upon the Government in Ramallah to Investigate Death of Palestinian in GIS Custody in Nablus

The Palestinian Center for Human Right (PCHR) calls for an investigation into the death of Fadi Hosni ‘Abdul Rahman Hamadna, 27, from Northern ‘Assira village, north of Nablus. Mr. Hamadna died while in the custody of the General Intelligence Service (GIS). Any persons found responsible for Mr. Hamadna’s death, must be prosecuted in accordance with the law. The GIS has a legal obligation to protect the lives and safety of detainees.

 

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, which included eyewitness testimony, at approximately 10:00 on Monday, 10 August 2009, the Municipality of Northern ‘Assira received a phone call from the Commander of the GIS in Nablus, who informed of the death of Mr. Hamadna. Mr. Hamadna had been detained in Junaid Prison in Nablus since 15 June 2009.  The Mayor, Mohammed Abu Halima, contacted the victim’s uncle, Tahseen ‘Abdul Rahman Hamdna, and informed him of the death of his nephew.  The two then headed towards Junaid Prison following coordination between the Mayor and the Commander of the GIS in the prison.  The GIS Commander informed them that Hamadna had hung himself using a blanket from his cell, and expressed his apology.  Approximately an hour later, Hamadna’s body was transferred to the autopsy institute at an-Najah National University, and the victim’s uncles, Tahseen ‘Abdul Rahman Hamadna and Hassan Saleh Samara, were invited.

 

They entered the room and saw the corpse covered by white cloth, except for the head and the neck.  They told PCHR that his neck was blue and lines appeared on it.  They also indicated that they saw some bruises on one shoulder.  Two hours later, they were asked to return by Dr. Samir Abu Za’rour.  The victim’s brother, Mohammed, who wanted to see the corpse, accompanied them this time.  He told PCHR that he saw blue bruises on the neck and the chest and lines on the neck.  Dr. Abu Za’rour asked members of the family to sign a document granting permission for an autopsy.  Before answering the request, the General Prosecutor arrived and said to them: “If you do or do not sign, the autopsy will be performed.” Tahseen Hamdna replied that the victims’ father should sign the document.  Dr. Abu Za’rour asked them about the father, and they told him that he was in Rafidya Hospital as he was attacked by security officers near Junaid Prison.  Dr. Abu Za’rour went to the hospital to convince the father to sign the document, but he refused.  The corpse has so far been kept in the autopsy institute.

 

It is worth noting that a debate took place in the morning between the victim’s father and brother on one hand and security officers and guards of Junaid Prison on the other hand, as the latter refused to allow the family to enter the prison to see the victim’s body.  The debate developed and security officers fired into the air and beat members of the family.  The victim’s father sustained a fracture to the head; his brother Mohammed sustained a fracture to the left hand; his brother Hani sustained bruises to the shoulder and back; and two relatives were injured.  The vicinity of the prison was then declared a closed military zone.

 

Brigadier Adnan al-Dumairi, Spokesman of Palestinian security services, stated to PCHR that Fadi Hamadna had been detained by the GIS since 15 June 2009, and that his interrogation was concluded on 25 June 2009, pending a decision to release him.  He had been detained in a single room in Junaid Prison, not the place of interrogation, according to Brigadier al-Dumairi.  He added that security officers found him dead as he tied a blanket around his neck.  They immediately brought his brother-in-law, Shaker Dababsa, who was detained in a nearby room, to have a look on him to be sure that he hanged himself.  “We are conducting a transparent investigation, and we offered the family the option to bring a doctor of their choice,” al-Dumairi added.  “We have nothing to hide, we stress that violence and tortureare prohibited and punishable under the Palestinian law and we will declare the results of investigation upon its conclusion.”

 

Hamadna has been the fourth Hamas detainee to die in the West Bank since the beginning of 2009.  On 08 February 2009, Mohammed ‘Abdul Jameel al-Hajj, 30, from Jalqamous village east of Jenin, died while in custody by the Preventive Security Service (PSS).  On 15 June 2009, Haitham ‘Abdullah ‘Amru, 33, from Beit al-Roush village south of Jenin, died while in custody by the GIS in Hebron.  On 04 August 2009, Kamal ‘Aamer Abu Tu’aima, 44, from al-Fawar refugee camp south of Hebron, as his health condition deteriorated due to methods of torture practiced against him while in custody by the PSS two months earlier.  Nevertheless, no serious investigations were conducted into these deaths.

 

In light of the above:

 

1.      PCHR calls upon the Attorney General in Ramallah to investigate this case, to publish the results of investigation, and if a crime is proved to have been committed, to bring the perpetrators to justice.

2.      PCHR reminds that torture is prohibited under the Palestinian Law and constitutes a serious violation of international human rights standards, especially the Convention against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment.  PCHR stresses that crimes of torture remain punishable at all times.

3.      PCHR affirms that all forms of detention under the Palestinian Law are the mandate of judicial warranty bodies, represented by the civil police, working under instruction and supervision of the Attorney-General. 

4.      PCHR reminds of the Palestinian High Court of Justice ruling of 20 February 1999 which considered political arrests illegal; and calls upon all executive parties to respect the Court ruling and refrain from conducting illegal political arrests.