aPRESS RELEASE

SUPREME COURT HEARS DR. SOBOH’S CASE

10.00 hours GMT on the 9 September, 1997

The Supreme Court of Palestine considered the detention of Dr Fathi Soboh this morning of the 9 September 1997. The appeal was made by the lawyers of Dr Soboh, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, in order to seek the release of Dr Soboh, an explanation for his continued detention, the lack of respect for legal procedures and the fact that no official charges had been brought against him. The Supreme Court reserved its judgement until 6 October 1997.

The Supreme Court session lasted three hours, during which the three Supreme Court judges heard lengthy submission from the representative of the office Attorney-General’s office and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

The representative for the Attorney-General submitted that Dr Soboh’s detention had been renewed at the State Security Court, although no charges had yet been brought against him. Under Palestinian law, the representative submitted, the matter was outside the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and he requested a dismissal of the writ.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights submitted that the contrary to rules of due process, the Attorney General had not furnished Dr Soboh or his lawyers with any information that the matter should be considered by the State Security Court and neither did he inform Dr Soboh or his lawyers that renewal of detention had been sought and obtained at that court, prior to the hearing. The Attorney General had thus violated the principle of acting as honest adversary. This indicated a total lack of respect for the rule of law.

Moreover, the Palestinian Centre lawyers pointed out that Dr Soboh would continue to be held without official charges, even though he had been subjected to torture and he had been on hunger strike for 36 days in protest. The lawyers submitted that the continuation of his detention was damaging to the judicial process and to legal system of Palestine. This detention would be seriously detrimental to the development of civil society and thus Dr Soboh should be released; there be no justification for not doing so, and pointed out that the real reasons for his detention were that he had posed two examination questions to his students about corruption at Al Azhar University and within the Palestinian National Authority.

At the end of the submissions the Supreme Court was adjourned for deliberation of the case to be re-adjourned on 6 October 1997, when judgement may be handed down.

Meanwhile Dr Fathi Soboh remains in detention in Gaza Central Prison.