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PCHR Condemns Dispersion of Peaceful Assembly

PCHR Condemns Dispersion of Peaceful Assembly and Attacks on Journalists by Security Forces in al-Bireh

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the use of force by Palestinian security services to disperse a peaceful assembly in al-Bireh, and accompanying attacks against journalists.  PCHR calls upon the government in Ramallah to take necessary measures to stop such violations of human rights and to respect public and press freedoms that are ensured under the Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights standards.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, following the Friday Prayer on 23 August 2013, dozens of Palestinians, including members of Hamas, gathered in front of Jamal Abdul Nasser Mosque (al-Bireh Grand Mosque) and raised banners expressing solidarity with the Syrian people and on the situation in Egypt.  Since the morning, Palestinian security services had closed the entrances of Ramallah and al-Bireh to prevent people from reaching the place of the assembly.  They also held Mohammed al-'Aarouri, a cameraman of al-Aqsa Satellite Channel.  Once people gathered, security officers and persons in civilian clothes started dispersing them by force, and violently beat a number of them, including Ahmed Milhem, a cameraman of the local Watan Television.  A number of people were also taken in police vehicles to the old police station, but were released later after being handed summons.  The summoned persons included journalists Mohammed al-Qiq and Mohammed al-'Aarouri. 

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In this context, PCHR underscores the following:

- The right to peaceful assembly is ensured under Article 26(5) of the Palestinian Basic Law, and under the Public Meetings Law.
- Article 27 of the Palestinian Basic Law media freedoms under the Palestinian Authority, and Article 19 of the Law ensures the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

Accordingly, PCHR:

1- Calls upon the Attorney General to investigate these attacks and bring the perpetrators before justice.

2- Calls upon the government in Ramallah to take necessary measures to stop such violations of human rights and to respect public and press freedoms that are ensured under the Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights standards.

3- Calls upon security services to respect human rights that are ensured under the national laws and relevant international standards.

ENDS

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