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MADA: Calls for a commission of inquiry into the case of journalist Sami Al Sa’ee

Ramallah- 27/02/2017- Proceeding from our deep belief of personal freedoms and human dignity and the prohibition of torture which was guaranteed by the Palestinian Basic Law in its article 13 thereof, which stipulates that “No person shall be subject to any duress or torture. Indictees and all persons deprived of their freedom shall receive proper treatment, all statements or confessions obtained through violation of the provisions contained in paragraph one of these articles shall be considered null and void”.

 

Thus, on the issue of journalist Sami Al Sa’ee, according to his statement to The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA); MADA demands to form a commission of inquiry to follow the case of Sami, who was tortured by members of the Palestinian intelligence service during his detention at the Central investigation Center of the Palestinian intelligence in Jericho, and it seems that their intention was only to silence him.

 

In accordance to Sami’s testimony to MADA, at first he was accused of inciting sectarian strife by Palestinian Intelligence service in Tulkarem, due to lack of evidence about his accusation he has been released on bail, before leaving the building and arriving to the front door in Tulkarem he was rearrested, after 15 minutes he was transferred to the Palestinian general intelligence investigation center in Jericho.

 

A probe was launched with Sami about recruiting for Hamas; an accusation he denied, throughout his detention period in Jericho Sami was exposed to torture in order to obtain information or a confession that inflicted Sami with psychological and physical pain and suffering.

The case of Sami Al Sa’ee and what he was exposed to drove concern regarding the attempts of Palestinian Security Services in West Bank, and Gaza Strip of torturing Palestinian Journalists, that may enhance the intimidation of journalists and the practice of self-censorship, which recorded high rates since the beginning of the internal political division in 2007.

 

MADA center demands the following:

  • The urgent need to respect and abide by the International treaties (article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) which stipulates that no one should be subjected to torture or ill-treatment or cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, which Palestine ratified back in 2014 without reservations and imposes whereby the Member States to take all executive and legislative measures to ensure its application.

 

  • Secondly: The need for adherence to the Convention against Torture and other cruel, inhuman or cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment particularly, its second article “1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction 2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture 3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture”.

 

  • The fact that the intelligence service is a body tasked with officially exercise activities and tasks of security outside the geographical boundaries of Palestine and the exercise of specific security tasks in Palestine (to complete) procedures outside the State, under Article 8 of the General Intelligence Law No. 17 of 2005, in spite of the enjoyment of the intelligence service as a judicial police ( by reference to Article 12 of the General intelligence Service Act No. 17 of 2007), yet the journalist Sami Al Sa’ee case does not fall within the Palestinian intelligence mandate, hence, MADA calls to determining the powers of the Palestinian security forces, whether in the West or in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) deplores this kind of grave breaches. And the what journalist Sami Al Sa’ee was exposed of torture and ill-treatment during his detention and calls upon all concerned authorities the urgent need to advocate for presenting the case of Sami Courier before an ad hoc/ inquiry committee to investigate and follow up on this issue and to take all measures against all violators and perpetrators of such acts. MADA also calls all the institutions of civil society to unite to confront this kind of irregularities, and calls on fellow journalists to stand by journalist Sami Al Sa’ee to help him overcome the difficult ordeal he faced during his detention.

 

Lastly, Human dignity is an authentic right for all citizens, in addition to freedom of opinion and expression of the Palestinian people that is guaranteed by the Palestinian Basic Law in its Article 19 and the importance of personal freedom, that is all in line with what has been ratified by international treaties including the (ICCPR, CAT) In addition to the customary rules of jus in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.