Thursday, February 17, 2011

Palestinian Authority: No Justice for Torture Death in Custody

UK, US Donors Should Cut Aid to Abusive Palestinian Security Agencies

"(Jerusalem) - Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas should order an independent investigation into the death of Haitham Amer, Human Rights Watch said today. Amer died 18 months ago, allegedly under torture by Palestinian security agents. A criminal inquiry and subsequent investigation failed to punish anyone for his death.

In recent interviews with Human Rights Watch, three witnesses to Amer's death independently provided graphic accounts of the events that led up to it. All three said they had provided the information in testimony at the inquiry and that they had identified intelligence agents who participated in torture, one of whom was never charged. Countries that provide direct support to the Palestinian Authority (PA) security agencies, notably the UK and US, should suspend aid to these agencies until officials are held accountable for human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said.....

Torture Allegations

The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), the official ombudsman for human rights abuses by Palestinian authorities, received 164 complaints of torture by the General Intelligence Service and other security agencies, notably Preventive Security, in 2009, and 202 torture complaints in 2010, according to information provided to Human Rights Watch.....

The Witnesses' Accounts

Human Rights Watch interviewed at length two witnesses to Amer's death and spoke to a third witness who confirmed their accounts. All three men had given evidence to prosecutors and testified that guards also tortured them while in detention at the intelligence agency center in Hebron.

Ali Rashid, a resident of Yatta, near Hebron, said guards ignored evidence of Amer's worsening medical condition over several days in custody......"

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