Annual Report: Palestinian Authority 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Palestinian Authority 2013

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  • Journalist Mohammad Qunayta was detained and ill-treated after Internal Security officers arrested him at his house in Gaza in June. He was released on bail in August.
  • PA police in uniform and plain clothes used excessive force against demonstrators and journalists in Ramallah on 30 June and 1 July. Dozens of protesters were injured and others were detained. Journalist Mohammad Jaradat was tortured in police detention; he was held down and beaten all over his body with a baton.
  • Hamas authorities prevented women from demonstrating on 2 October in Gaza to call for Palestinian unity. Police briefly detained five women.

Human rights defenders

Human rights defenders were harassed by the PA and Hamas authorities and their supporters, and in some cases attacked.

  • Mahmoud Abu Rahma, a director at Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, was stabbed and wounded in January by unidentified assailants in Gaza City after he published an article criticizing the Hamas administration.

Violence against women and girls

Women and girls continued to face discrimination in law and practice and to face gender-based violence, including murder, committed by male relatives. The defence of “preserving the family's honour” was suspended by a presidential decree as mitigating evidence in murder cases heard by courts in the West Bank. However, the police failed to protect women who complained of domestic violence and threats to their lives. In Gaza the excuse of “honour” continued to allow for very low sentencing – under 24 months – in rare cases of convictions.

  • Randa al-Mahareq, from Samu in the West Bank, sought the protection of the police and other authorities for months until her father and brother were arrested in July on charges of beating her. They were released four days later and killed her soon afterwards, apparently because they disapproved of her divorce.
  • A 22-year-old woman was shot and killed on 23 March in al-Nasser hospital in Khan Younis. Her uncle and brother were detained. Police said the crime was carried out in the name of “honour”.

Summary killings

In November, seven men accused of “collaborating” with Israel who were in Internal Security custody in the Gaza Strip were taken by members of Hamas' military wing and summarily killed. The Hamas authorities pledged to investigate the killings but no action was known to have been taken against those responsible.

Impunity

The Hamas authorities failed to investigate allegations of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity committed by Hamas' forces and other Palestinian armed groups in Gaza during Israel's military Operation “Cast Lead” in 2008–2009 and during the eight-day conflict in November. Neither the PA nor Hamas credibly investigated allegations of torture and other abuses by their security forces or held perpetrators to account.

Death penalty

In Gaza, military and criminal courts sentenced at least five people to death after convicting them of “collaboration with Israel” or other offences. Six people were executed. One man was sentenced to death in the West Bank; there were no executions there.

Amnesty International visits/reports

  • Amnesty International visited the West Bank and Gaza in June/July and Gaza in November/December.
  • Palestinian Authority: Three men hanged; more facing execution
  • (MDE 21/004/2012)
  • Palestinian Authority: Deliver justice for victims of Ramallah police violence (4 July 2012)