Date: 08 February 2009
Time: 11:30 GMT
PCHR calls for an immediate and rigorous investigation into the circumstances of the death of Jameel Shafiq Shaqqura, 51, from Khan Yunis refugee camp, who was tortured by the Internal Security Services and subsequently died of his injuries. PCHR calls also for the results of the investigation to be made public, and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice according to the law.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 10:40 on Friday, 6 February, medical sources at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, confirmed that Jameel Shafiq Shaqqura had died from a brain clot caused by torture and severe beating to his head. Security officers had transferred Shaqqura to Nasser hospital on 31 January, as his health had deteriorated whilst he was in their custody.
The victim’s brother, ‘Aatef Shaqqura gave PCHR the following testimony:
“My brother Jameel and three of his friends were summoned to Khan Yunis Sports Club on Friday, 30 January, by the Internal Security Service of the Gaza government. They were told they had to testify in a case they knew nothing about. At approximately 06:30 on Saturday, 31 January, I received a phone call from a staff member of Nasser Hospital, who informed me that my brother Jameel had been admitted into the hospital and that he was in a serious condition. I went to the hospital immediately. When I saw my brother, I saw signs of beating on his head and limbs. Jameel told me that as soon as he and his friends entered Khan Yunis Sports Club, they were handcuffed, blindfolded and taken to an unknown destination, where they were violently beaten. He added that security officers beat him to force him to change a testimony in the case. He fainted due to being subjected to violent beating.”
On Saturday evening, 7 February, a delegation of Hamas members, headed by Dr. Younis al-Astal, Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) went to pay their condolences to the Shaqqura family in Khan Yunis. Dr. al-Astal delivered a speech in which he indicated that Shaqqura had been unjustly killed, and that the movement Hamas[
was responsible for his death. He added that an inquiry commission had been established, and the movement would comply with the results of the inquiry. Dr. al-Astal stated that “This offense has made the movement stricter in its instructions to the Internal Security Service.”
In light of the above:
1) PCHR calls for an immediate investigation into this crime, and for those responsible to be brought to justice according to the law.
2) PCHR reiterates that torture is prohibited under Palestinian law, and also constitutes a serious violation of international human rights standards and instruments, especially the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and that crimes of torture remain punishable long after they have been committed.
3) Stresses that arrests and detentions are regulated by Palestinian law and fall under the mandate of judicial officials, including the civil police, who are under the supervision of the Attorney-General.