At approximately 8:00 am on Tuesday 19 April 2011, the family of Adel Salah Rezeq, 52 years old, received a telephone call informing them of his death at a detention center. They were advised that his body had been transferred to the Shifa Hospital in Gaza city at dawn the same day.
According to information available to the undersigned organizations, Rezeq‘s relatives reported that at approximately 8:00 pm on Thursday 14 April 2011, forces from the internal security services appeared at Adel Rezeq’s house and ordered him to accompany them. The security personnel force did not show Rezeq a summons from a judicial authority, as required by the law.
Rezeq‘s relatives claim that Rezeq enjoyed good health. He had worked with the Palestinian Authority’s National Security apparatus since 2005. He was married and had eight children.
The Ministry of Interior of the Government in Gaza (MoI) released a statement that is published on their website, stating that: "[O]n the morning of Tuesday 19 April 2011, Adel Rezeq, 52, died inside a detention center of the internal security apparatus. He died as a result of illness on Monday. Adel Rezeq had been transferred to the Shifa Hospital and received medical treatment there, but his health condition had deteriorated and he later died. His dead body is now under forensic examination. For this purpose, a formal investigation committee has been formed. All the concerned authorities, including the General Observer (of the MoI) and human rights organization were informed about the case," (unofficial translation).
The undersigned organizations have noted that deaths in custody occur in suspicious circumstances on a monthly basis inside detention centres and contend that such deaths require prompt criminal investigations, which must include an examination of the arrest procedures, summons and interrogation methods used. A criminal investigation into the death of Adel Rezeq must therefore scrutinize the method of his arrest, detention and interrogation as well as his treatment inside the detention center, and determine whether he was subjected to torture or any form of cruel and/or inhuman and degrading treatment.
The undersigned organizations are deeply concerned by the information obtained from Rezeq‘s relatives, which indicates that the method of his arrest violates due process. No arrest warrant was obtained from the public prosecution service. In addition, the forces that conducted the arrest were not among those authorized by the Palestinian Criminal Procedure Law to carry out arrest warrants.
Moreover, the prevention of the victim’s lawyers and human rights organizations from examining, or attending the examination of, the dead body, is a further cause of concern.
The undersigned organizations express their deep regret for the death of Adel Rezeq in circumstances that remain mysterious, and call for:
- A prompt and effective investigation into the cause of Rezeq‘s death. According to article 16 of the Rehabilitation and Reform Centers Law of 1998, any death that occurs inside prison obliges the prison‘s manager or his deputy to inform the public prosecution. Therefore, the undersigned organizations emphasize that an investigation into the circumstances of Rezeq’s death is crucial legal obligation; and
- Disclosure of the results of the investigations as soon as they are concluded, which must be within a reasonable time and in accordance with the standards of a professional legal investigation.
The undersigned organizations defend the right of the family to bring an independent forensic expert to examine the body of the victim. This right is crucial for such an examination to be transparent and impartial. The undersigned organizations are waiting for a forensic report to examine the reason for Rezeq‘s death and to determine whether he was subjected to torture or ill-treatment.
Al Dameer Association for Human Rights - Gaza
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights