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Civilian Assaulted by Palestinian Security Officers

Thursday, 15 May 2014 10:45 - [5-11 May] - Ref.: 46/2014
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On 6 May, Palestinian security forces and the Governor of Jenin’s guards assaulted a Palestinian civilian in Jenin after officers overheard him making a sarcastic comment regarding the Governor’s procession through the city.

Kamel Ghazi Abu Shahin – Jenin

Al-haq-Danish-AwardAwrdOn 6 May at approximately 2:00 pm, Kamel, 30, and his wife arrived at al-Nasira Street in Jenin to run a personal errand. A crowd had congregated close to a government building located on the same street, accompanied by Palestinian security forces. As Kamel stopped the car to drop his wife off, a police officer approached him and asked him to park his car on the side of the street so as not to block it. Kamel asked the police officer why the crowd had gathered and the officer replied that there was a ceremony taking placing in honour of school teachers. Kamel parked his car on the side of the street and waited for his wife.

While he was waiting, Kamel noticed a procession of government and security cars in the vicinity and asked the same officer that he had spoken to earlier to whom the cars belonged. The police officer said they belonged to the Governor of Jenin. Kamel remarked “Masha’llah”, meaning “God has willed it”, in a sarcastic tone. A police officer standing nearby took offence to Kamel’s remark and questioned his respect for the procession. The policeman then approached the Governor’s procession and spoke to the Governor’s guards. Meanwhile, Kamel stepped out of his car. When the police officer returned he was accompanied by the Governor’s guard, one of whom began beating Kamel on the face violently before he had the chance to say anything. Kamel became furious and asked the guard why he had hit him, to which the guard did not reply. Kamel was shocked when another guard then began beating him on his left side with his gun.

Afterwards, the two guards used violent force to restrain Kamel. At that moment, the Governor’s procession was passing by and the Governor rolled down his car window and asked Kamel “do you not like it that I’m the Governor?” Kamel responded by reiterating the same remark he had made earlier. In response, the Governor yelled at Kamel saying “I am the Governor whether you like it or not” and then ordered his guards and the police officers to take Kamel inside one of their jeeps. The security personnel present dragged Kamel into a police car and confiscated his cell phone and work ID. Every time Kamel tried to express his discontent at the series of events that had taken place, the police officers told him to “shut up”.

Kamel was immediately transferred to the Palestinian police headquarters in Jenin. That evening, the Governor issued an order for Kamel to be detained for a week. He was, however, was released at midnight that night. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 9563/2014)

Al-Haq condemns the ill-treatment endured by Kamel at the hands of the Governor’s guards and Palestinian police officers. On 2 and 7 May respectively, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) came into force for the State of Palestine, along with four other human rights treaties and an Optional Protocol. According to CAT, State parties are obliged to prevent acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment when such acts are committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.  Al-Haq calls for a prompt and impartial investigation by the competent authorities into the ill-treatment suffered by Kamel at the hands of the Palestinian security forces in line with the State of Palestine’s obligations under international human rights law.