Palestinian political prisoners held in PA prisons and interrogation centers have been refused the right to see their lawyers. At the Interrogation Center for the General Intelligence in Jericho, 24 political prisoners are being held and denied the right to see their lawyers and, in many cases, their families.
In one typical example, Attorney Hossam Arafat, 35 years old and from Rami near Tulkarem, has been held in the General Intelligence Interrogation Center in Jericho since 8 February 1997. Security officials informed him at the time of his arrest that he had been arrested for political reasons. The 24 political prisoners held here have not been formally charged nor tried for their activities. Mr. Arafat, after languishing two months without a formal charge or trial, went on hunger strike on 22 April. After he was informed him that negotiations were underway with President Arafat, he ended his hunger strike on 26 April. Nothing has changed for him yet.
In addition, the General Intelligence services only allowed his family to visit him once, on 24 April. His family reported that he was weak after two days of hunger strike. His lawyer has not once been allowed to visit him in his formal capacity as a lawyer, but only as if on personal visits.
A lawyer from LAW visited Mr. Arafat on 30 April and was refused permission to see him as a lawyer and as a representative of LAW. He was admitted for a personal visit only.
Twenty of 24 political prisoners at the Interrogation Center are listed below:
- Husam Arafat – Tulkarem lives in Ramallah.
- Abdel Kareem Said Khamis – Deheishe
- Abdallah Abu Ayash – Hebron
- Abdallah Mohammed Khalil Salah-Dar Salah/ Bethlehem
- Abdel Fatah Khamis – Deheishe Refugee Camp/Bethlehem
- Jamal Ahmad Al-Garuz El-Arub/Hebron
- Fuad Muhsein-Deheishe
- Ata Kitkat-Hebron
- Hasan Judeh-Nablus
- Nedal el-Asmar- Jenin Refugee Camp
- Sliman el-Fayyed- Jenin
- Riad Ali-Tulkarem
- Ibrahim Samada’a-Jenin
- Azam Yacub-Tulkarem
- Husni al-Hashash-Nablus
- Ibrahim Sif Abahrah-Jenin Refugee camp
- Ahmad Khalil – Hebron
- Wadah al-Asmar-Jenin Refugee camp
- Adnan Sawafta-Hebron
Local law guarantees the right of prisoners to a lawyer and international law protects the freedom of speech and opinion. LAW believes continued incarceration without a right to a lawyer, and continued arrests for political activities, undermine democratic principles and the rule of law. These policies, in contravention of accepted principles, further highlight the dangerous and illegal practices of a Palestinian Authority struggling to control its political opposition.
LAW – The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment is a non-governmental organization, dedicated to preserving human rights through legal advocacy. LAW is also an affiliate member of the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights.