Ref: 69/2007

Date: 24 July 2007

Time: 11:30 GMT


PCHR Calls for Investigating the Assault on PLC Member Ashraf Jum’a in Rafah

PCHR strongly condemns the attack on Ashraf Jum’a, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council from the Fatah party, at the hands of unknown gunmen yesterday. The Centre calls for an immediate investigation into the incident to expose and prosecute the perpetrators.

The Center’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 20:10 on Monday, 23 July 2007, a group of about 25 masked gunmen arrived in Palestinian police vehicles at Ashraf Jum’a’s office in Qishta Building near Jawazat intersection in Rafah. The gunmen accused Jum’a of having a hand in cutting off the salaries of a number of security personnel. The gunmen reached Jum’a’s office and beat him with batons and gun butts all over his body. He suffered cuts in the head and bruises in the back. The gunmen fired inside Jum’a’s office, injuring the director of the office, Osama Jamal El-Tawil (41) by a bullet in the left thigh. Eight other employees were injured by the attacking gunmen. Jum’a and the injured were taken to Mohammad Yusef El-Najjar Hospital for treatment, where their injuries were listed as moderate.

Prior to this attack, members of the security forces distributed a leaflet in Rafah accusing Ashraf Jum’a of sending the names of security personnel who continued to work after 15 June to the Emergency Government in Ramallah. As a result, these security personnel were fired, and their salaries cut off.

PCHR strongly condemns this crime, and:

         Calls for a serious and immediate investigation into this attack to expose and prosecute the perpetrators.

         Views with concern the use of official police vehicles in the attack, which points towards the possibility of involvement of some policemen in the attack.

         Stresses the immunity of PLC members under the Palestinian Basic Law, which outlaws any form of infringement on them as long as the immunity is effective.

         Warns against the danger of such attacks that constitute a continuation of security chaos in the OPT.