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Geneva NGO takes up complaints about targetting of media by PA security forces


July 2012: Third rally in Ramallah, ostensibly against PA austerity measures,but this directed against the use of force by PA security forces against previous protests. BBC news: “With this march we emphasise that the people are the source of authority, and that we reject the use of violence against the Palestinian people by any and all hands,” the Palestinians for Dignity youth group said in a statement.

Euro-Mid Urges EU to Reconsider its Support for PA Security Forces

Euro-Mid Media Release
February 11, 2013

Geneva–Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights is deeply concerned over the smothering practices of the PA’s security forces against media workers and journalists in the West Bank. Thus, Euro-Mid has called on EU countries to rethink their support for the PA’s security forces.

In a statement issued Saturday Feb. 9th, Euro-Mid Observer denounced the storming of journalist Muhammed Awad’s house by the PA’s Preventive Security in the village of Badras in Ramallah on Thursday night Feb. 7th. The statement added that the security forces did not show any arrest or search warrants which makes such practice illegal.

Euro-Mid personnel who happened to be at Muhammed Awad’s work compass during the raid quote him as saying that he was arrested three times last year by the PA’s intelligence unit without any warrant, and that they used to summon him weekly for inquiry. Muhammed added that he was last called for at the intelligence unit in Rammallah three days before his house was raid. He was threatened and blackmailed,then, to collaborate with the intelligence.

It is worth mentioning that the PA is suiting [?] a number of activists and journalists over their political views. Among them is the youth activist Nezar Banat from Hebron who was accused of “running his mouth”. Columnist, Jihad Harb, is also facing the same charge after an article he published. Activist Safed Nezal, on top of that, was summoned three days ago for her participation in a peaceful protest.

A local court in Nablus has issued a year-long sentence against activist Anas Awaad over “running his mouth against the elite” after a comment he posted on his Facebook page. Euro-Mid Observer has criticized such a sentence against Awaad as he did not commit any trespass that requires trial. The only crime he committed was that he expressed his opinions and thoughts freely as stipulated in the internal law and agreements, Euro-Mid statement stressed.

The news of presidential pardon was not followed by any legal measures to reverse his sentence and protect him from arrest so far. More importantly, the presidential pardon was conditioned until the appealing time against the sentence is over which reflects the exploitation and manipulation of judiciary, and the support coming from the top of the political pyramid for such practices, added Euro-Mid statement.

Euro-Mid Observer has called upon the PA to allow public freedoms and end its arbitrary detention policy without issuing warrants, a policy that received much international criticism and condemnation.

Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, based in Geneva, has urged the EU and the donor countries to reconsider their unconditional support for the PA’s security forces in light of its recurrent breaches against international law and human rights. Euro-Mid thought such breaches could seriously embarrass the PA’s donor countries and could hold them accountable before the public and law, especially in midst of foreign security and police missions supervising training and work inside the PA’s security forces.

[Euro-Mid is a Geneva-based NGO whose aim is ‘To document human rights violations across the region and motivate European/International organizations and decision makers to act to eliminate these violations.’ Their region of concern is MENA – idle East and North ]


Palestinian jailed for insulting Abbas

Court sentences Anas Awwad to a year in prison for commenting on picture of PA head kicking soccer ball

By AP/Times of Israel
February 07, 2013,

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — A Palestinian court has sentenced a West Bank man to a year in jail for “cursing the president” on Facebook.

The Magistrates Court of the city of Nablus sentenced Anas Awwad, 26, on Thursday.

His father says Awwad is being punished for a comment he made about a picture of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas kicking a soccer ball taken during his visit to Barcelona Football Club in 2011.

Awwad wrote “The new striker in Real Madrid.” His lawyer says he is appealing the decision.

Another Palestinian is on trial for the same charge. Nizar Banat, 33, posted: “I curse the president on every occasion for political reasons.”

Human Rights lawyer Fareed Al-Atrash said the Palestinian judiciary applied a Jordanian law that criminalizes cursing the King.

Abbas’s office declined to comment.



Masked gunmen in Nablus protest at arrests of Fatah members by PA security forces, January 2013

Nablus gunmen fire live shots to protest PA arrest raid

By Ma’an news
January 15/17, 2013


NABLUS  — Masked gunmen on Tuesday fired live shots into the air in a Nablus refugee camp in protest at a raid by Palestinian Authority security forces hours earlier, locals said.

PA security raided several homes in Balata camp in an attempt to detain several men wanted for participating in protests against security forces, locals told Ma’an.

They raided the homes of Fatah leaders Muhammad Abu Zayel and Iyad al-Tirwai but left without making any arrests.

After the raids, masked gunmen gathered in the camp and fired multiple rounds of live ammunition into the air with semi-automatic weapons in protest against the treatment of Fatah members by security forces.

The gunmen accused PA security chiefs of targeting Fatah members and humiliating them, calling on President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads the Fatah party, to investigate the incident.

On Thursday, a group of masked gunmen in Balata camp claiming affiliation to Fatah’s military wing warned that they would fight back against the imprisonment of their members by Palestinian security forces.

As president, Abbas heads the security forces, but the unidentified gunmen said they were acting to defend the president against “the enemies of Fatah and the enesmiesha of the Palestinian people.”

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