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UNITED
NATIONS
E

        Economic and Social Council
Distr.
GENERAL
E/CN.4/2003/104/Add.1
20 February 2003

ENGLISH/FRENCH/
SPANISH ONLY

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Fifty-ninth session
Item 17 (b) of the provisional agenda



PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

Report submitted by Ms. Hina Jilani, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders, in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 2000/61

Addendum*

Communications to and from Governments


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_________________

* The present document is being circulated in the languages of submission only as it greatly exceeds the page limitations currently imposed by the relevant General Assembly resolutions.



Introduction

1. The present document is submitted by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders, Ms. Hina Jilani, to the Commission on Human Rights, pursuant to Commission resolution 2000/61. The document provides information on specific cases addressed by the Special Representative through communications. In the past, such information has been included in an annex to the Special Representative’s annual report to the Commission. This year, for technical reasons, the information on specific cases addressed is reproduced as an addendum to the main report (E/CN.4/2003/104). For the same reasons, this addendum has not been formally edited by the United Nations editors or translated by the United Nations translation services, and provides information in several languages.

2. The addendum contains brief summaries of communications to and from relevant authorities, along with the observations of the Special Representative. With very few exceptions, communications raised here relate to alleged circumstances that are reported to have occurred prior to 1st December 2002 and which were sent to authorities by the Special Representative before that date. The section includes summaries of all replies received by the Special Representative, and (where needed) translated, before 15th January 2003. All information included under the sub-title “Communications received” reflects a summary of information provided by the relevant Government or other authority. Finally, an appendix contains a copy of guidelines for the submission of allegations to the Special Representative. These guidelines are not final and will be developed further over the coming year.

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Egypt

Communications sent

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194. On 23 May 2002, the Special Representative, together with the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression and the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture, sent an urgent appeal regarding nine activists who were reportedly arrested in May 2002 after they announced that they were organizing a peaceful demonstration on the anniversary of the Palestinian massacres of 1984 to protest against alleged massacres committed by Israeli troops in the occupied Palestinian territories. Manal Khaled, an editor for an Egyptian TV station, and Sameh Kamal, a computer engineer, were reportedly arrested on 5 May 2002 at El Tahrir Square by several plain-clothes policemen. They were reportedly taken to Kasr El Neil Police Station and presented to the State Security Prosecution where they were reportedly charged with possessing documentation and publications - reportedly a newsletter and other documents of the Popular Committee of Solidarity with the Palestinian Intifada - that threatened public security. Their whereabouts are reportedly unknown. Fears have been expressed that they may be at risk of torture or other forms of ill-treatment in view of their incommunicado detention at an unknown location.It has also been reported that Ali Abd El Fatah, the Secretary-General of the Popular Committee of Solidarity with the Palestinian Intifada, together with Gamal Mady, Ahmed Abd El Hafez and Khaled Souleman, three owners of a publishing house, and Ahmed Ali and Ashraf Ali, two owners of a printing house, were arrested at their homes on 14 May 2002 by members of the Alexandria State Security Investigation. They were reportedly beaten and insulted during their arrest. They were reportedly brought before the Cairo State Security Investigation and charged with publishing propaganda to disrupt public security. Fears have been expressed that they may also be at risk of torture or other forms of ill-treatment. Finally, it has been reported that Dr. Gamal Abd El Fatah Abd El Dayeim, another activitist of the Popular Committee of Solidarity with the Palestinian Intifada, was arrested on 13 May 2002 at his pharmacy in Hadayiek, El Maadi, by members of an anti-drugs force from the Directorate of Cairo Security. He was reportedly assaulted, beaten and insulted by the members of the security forces. He was then reportedly taken to the Security Directorate and brought before El Basateen Prosecution. He was reportedly charged with selling expired medicines and with publicizing false news, propaganda and publications that threatened public security. It is believed that the charge of selling expired medicine was used as a pretext to harass him for his political activities. He was reportedly released on 19 May 2002 on bail following a decree by the South Cairo Public Prosecutor.

Communication received

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Observations

196. The Special Representative thanks the Government for its reply. However, she regrets that, at the time of finalisation of the present report, no reply had been received from the Government to her other communications.

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Israel

Communications sent

321. On 5 April 2002, the Special Representative together with the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention sent an urgent appeal regarding a raid in the offices of Al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organization. According to the information received, on 30 March 2002, Israeli forces entered and searched the premises of Al-Haq, located in the city of Ramallah, as well as those of the Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute located next door. Computer and technical equipment as well as sensitive materials, including confidential legal files, sworn affidavits and reports from victims of abuse, were reportedly damaged, destroyed or stolen. According to reports, an appeal has been brought by Al-Haq before the Israeli authorities requesting permission to inspect and close the office, which remains open. Fears have been expressed for the safety of Yasser Al-Dissi, an Al-Haq employee, who has reportedly been arrested by the Israeli military forces and detained at Ofra Camp in the West Bank.

322. On 15 July 2002, the Special Representative together with the Special Rapporteur on torture and the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention transmitted an urgent appeal regarding the alleged arrest of Yousef Mahmoud Towreeg by the Israeli military forces on 14 July 2002. According to the information received, Mr. Towreeg, an Al-Haq fieldworker and 32 years of age, was returning home to Nablus after visiting Al-Haq’s offices in Ramallah when the taxi in which he was travelling was stopped at the Doma checkpoint, near the villages of Doma and Kusrine between Ramallah and Nablus. After checking the identification cards of all passengers, the soldiers at the checkpoint reportedly ordered Mr. Towreeg to get out of the car. They then reportedly tied his hands and put him in a military jeep. The car was reportedly allowed to continue its way soon thereafter. Fears have been expressed for the safety of Mr. Towreeg as no information regarding his whereabouts is reportedly available. It is believed that he may have been arrested in connection with his human rights work.

323. On 13 September 2002, the Special Representative together with the Special Rapporteur on torture sent an allegation letter regarding Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, President of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (PRCS). Dr. Barghouti was reportedly arrested on 2 January 2002 after a press conference to which an international delegation, including members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and delegates from the United States and European countries, participated. According to the information received, Dr. Barghouti was arrested on the grounds that he had no Israeli pass to enter Jesuralem. He was reportedly detained for several hours at the Moscobiyeh Detention Centre in Jesuralem before being released at al-Ram checkpoint between Jesuralem and Ramallah. Dr. Barghouti was reportedly beaten at al-Ram checkpoint, as a result of which he reportedly suffered a fractured kneecap and various lacerations and bruises on his face and body. Some international delegates, including MEP Luisa Morgantini, who protested against new attempts to arrest Dr. Barghouti, also reportedly suffered bruises and other injuries.

324. On 2 December 2002,the Special Representative together with the Special Rapporteur on torture and the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention sent an urgent appeal regardingthe arrest and detention of Abed Rahman al-Ahmar, a field researcher with the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group. According to the information received, at 4 a.m. on 22 November 2002, members of the Israeli security forces entered Mr. al-Ahmar’s house in the Daheishe refugee camp, proceeded to shoot in the air and ordered everyone to leave the house before searching it for several hours. Approximately 30 persons, including women and children, were reportedly kept outside in the cold at gunpoint for about three hours. According to the information received, Allegra Pacheco, Mr. al-Ahmar’s wife and an attorney who works for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA), identified herself to the security forces and was allowed into the house. It is reported that the security forces stated that they were looking for a relative of Mr. al-Ahmar, but as they did not find him, they were going to arrest Mr. al-Ahmar instead, explaining that they wanted to question him for a short time. Mr. al-Ahmar was then reportedly taken to the Etzion Detention Centre, where his detention was been extended for 11 days and set to end on 3 December 2002. According to the information received, Mr. al-Ahmar was being held in harsh conditions, was not allowed a daily walk outside and that both he and some other detainees are forced to sleep on the floor in the cold. According to the information received, Mr. al-Ahmar has not been questioned so far on anything other than his marriage to Ms. Pacheco. Furthermore, Mr. al-Ahmar was reportedly not given food during the day, although he explained that he was not fasting during Ramadan. Furthermore, he was reportedly not receiving proper medical care or the medication he has to take on a regular basis despite reports that he is suffering from severe back and stomach pain. His fragile health reportedly results from the torture to which he was reportedly subjected by the General Security Se rvices (GSS) while he was in detention during the first intifada. According to the information received, Ms. Pacheco visited Mr. al-Ahmar at the Etzion Detention Centre and Attorney Lea Tsemel was appointed to represent him and filed a request on 27 November 2002 with the Beit El Military Court demanding that he be released on bail.

325. On 8 November 2002, the Special Representative sent an allegation letter regarding an alleged policy of obstructing internationals, as well as Israelis and Palestinians, from witnessing and protesting against human rights violations allegedly committed during actions by Israeli security forces in the occupied territories, or from providing assistance to the victims of such violations. In particular, she has received information according to which the ability of medical personnel to provide emergency medical services was reportedly significantly curtailed by the Israeli authorities during and following Operation Defensive Shield. On many occasions, ambulance teams have reportedly been obliged to negotiate their way through Israeli checkpoints or to wait several hours for a clearance order from authorities. In some instances, Israeli soldiers reportedly ignored the clearance orders and simply denied access to ambulances. Moreover, in major cities such as Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jenin, Nablus and Tulkarem, emergency operations were reportedly blocked for hours or for days on numerous occasions, thereby denying the population access to medical services. The Special Representative has also received information according to which the Palestinian Red Crescent society was subjected to systematic interference in its functions by Israeli authorities. According to the information received, obstructive measures included denial of access to ambulances, undue delaying of ambulances, detention and ill-treatment of ambulance teams and armed attacks on ambulances. The following cases involving medical personnel or other human right defenders were brought to the attention of the Government of Israel.

326. On 18 January 2002 around noon, Thoraya Alayan, human rights defender for the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment (LAW), was reportedly hit in the chin by a rubber-coated metal bullet while she was demonstrating against the incursion of Israeli forces into Ramallah. According to the information received, it was not the first time that Ms. Alayan was a victim in an incident involving Israeli forces. On 3 November 2000, she and Hosam Rajab, another field researcher for LAW, were reportedly hit by rubber-coated metal bullets while they were monitoring a demonstration in Ramallah. Further, on 11 December 2000, Ms. Alayan and Amer al-Arouri were reportedly attacked by Israeli soldiers while they were filming a Palestinian vehicle that had reportedly been stoned by settlers from the Ofra colony near Ramallah. Both were reportedly injured and their videotapes were confiscated. Again, on 8 January 2001, while investigating the killing of 11-year-old Omar Faruq Khaled in the Balou’ area in Ramallah, Ms. Alayan was reportedly shot at from an Israeli army watchover 200 metres away from the spot where Omar Faruq Khaled was killed.

327. On 7 March 2002, the house of Khader Shkirat, General Director of LAW, was reportedly besieged by Israeli security forces. According to the information received, at around 6.15 p.m. on that day, an estimated 150 members of the Israeli security forces, including members of a special Israeli intelligence unit, border police and army troops, sealed off the Palestinian neighbourhood of Jabel Mukaber, placed the residents under a military curfew and surrounded Mr. Shkirat’s house. The officers of the intelligence unit reportedly ordered Mr. Shkirat to find and bring out a fugitive alleged by them to be hiding in his basement, or to evacuate the house with his family before it was bombed. Mr. Shkirat reportedly refused to move and took his family to one of the rooms in the back of the house. The officers of the intelligence unit then reportedly gave him an ultimatum to come with them for interrogation or the unit would move into the house. Mr. Shkirat reportedly gave himself up and was brought to the Israeli police station in Jabel Mukaber. During the interrogation, the Israeli forces reportedly claimed that they had found a fugitive in the basement of the house, although none of the members of Palestinian and Israeli human rights NGOs and representatives of diplomatic consulates reportedly present at the scene witnessed the presence of the alleged fugitive. When Mr. Shkirat was returned to his house, Israeli forces reportedly brought dogs into the house, purportedly for further security checks. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Shkirat and his brother, who were accompanied by Israeli lawyer Lea Tsemel, were reportedly taken for questioning. They were reportedly released some time later. According to sources, Israeli forces withdrew from Jabel Mukaber at around 10.30 p.m. but returned to the area after officials of European Union consulates had left the scene. They reportedly surrounded the house once again, preventing anyone from entering, before finally leaving the scene for good in the early morning hours.

328. On 31 March 2002, the Minister of the Interior reportedly ordered border officers to bar entry into Israel of all foreign nationals who were affiliated with Palestinian NGOs and solidarity organizations. In particular, it was reported that on 6 April 2002, authorities at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv reportedly detained and threatened to deport Sadiki Kaba and Driss el Yazami, respectively the President and Secretary-General of the Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’homme, as well as Henri Leclerc, the former President of the Ligue des droits de l’homme. According to the information received, the three were due to take part in a press conference in Jerusalem on human rights violations resulting from Israeli incursions into the occupied Palestinian territories. They were reportedly detained for four hours before several Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations succeeded in securing their release. According to the information received, the three had all the necessary documentation, including valid visas.

329. On 4 March 2002, Dr. Khalil Sulieman, head of the PRCS emergency medical service in Jenin, was reportedly killed in an attack on his ambulance while he was attempting to rescue a nine-year-old girl. Three other PRCS paramedics, Taher Samuri, Mohammed Alaweh and Mahmoud Al Saadi, were also reportedly injured in the attack.

330. On 7 March 2002, Israeli soldiers reportedly fired on two PRCS ambulances that were traveling to Tulkarem refugee camp to evacuate wounded individuals. According to the information received, Ibrahim Mohammad Assad, the driver of the first ambulance, had received permission from the Israeli authorities to drive the ambulance into the area. After driving about 750 metres, the ambulances reportedly came under heavy fire from a tank and Mr. Assad was reportedly shot in the shoulder. According to the information available, as he exited the ambulance and attempted to take cover from gunfire in the other ambulance, an Israeli tank commander reportedly ran after him and shot him in the forehead. Three other medics, Safiyah Balbisi, Ra'ed Ghaleb Yasin and Mahmoud Hussein Bijawi, were reportedly severely injured by shrapnel during the attack.

331. On 2 April 2002, the PRCS was reportedly forced to suspend its ambulance services in Ramallah after nine of its staff members, including the PRCS President, Younis Al-Khatib, were reportedly detained for seven hours by the Israeli army. According to the information received, three PRCS ambulances were responding to urgent calls in Ramallah at around 8 a.m. when five tanks and personnel carriers reportedly blocked their way, one of them reportedly positioning itself behind the ambulances to prevent a possible retreat. Several soldiers then reportedly surrounded the ambulances with their weapons pointed at the PRCS team members, confiscated the batteries from their radios and phones and ordered them to get out of the vehicles. Soldiers then reportedly ordered the teams members to lie on the ground and to lift their clothing one by one to prove that they were not carrying weapons or explosives. Mr. Al-Khatib, was allegedly ordered to go with the soldiers to inspect the ambulances, which were reportedly found to be in full compliance with regulations. At this stage, two additional PRCS staff members accompanied by two ICRC delegates reportedly arrived on the scene. Like their colleagues, they were reportedly ordered out of their vehicles and their phones were reportedly disabled. One ICRC delegate reportedly tried to negotiate with the soldiers but was allegedly told to keep quiet and to leave the scene with his companion. Following their departure, the two PRCS staff members were reportedly searched and forced to crawl along the ground to join the other PRCS members. Once all together, the nine PRCS members were reportedly ordered to crawl approximately 50 metres and to sit on the wet road between the tanks. W hile crawling, soldiers reportedly shot over their heads, threatening to kill them. Soldiers then reportedly collected all identity cards and handcuffed them with plastic straps. The PRCS members reportedly remained sitting in the rain for 2 1/2 hours during which the soldiers reportedly used them as human shields while bombarding an occupied Palestinian building. Explosions in the building reportedly resulted in flying glass and debris which reportedly hit the PRCS team. After the explosion, the PRCS personnel were reportedly transported in three tanks in which several of them were abused and physically assaulted. Soldiers in two of the three tanks reportedly pointed their weapons at the PRCS members’ head and threatened to kill them. In the third tank, blankets were reportedly put around the detainees. Shortly thereafter, still handcuffed and blindfolded, all the PRCS members were reportedly made to walk outside in the rain and mud for half an hour. They were then reportedly ordered to sit down on their knees with their heads down and their hands still tied behind their backs. According to the information received, the PRCS members reportedly remained in this position for nearly two hours before being led in two groups to an unidentified office where they were reportedly interrogated by an intelligence officer. Some of them were then reportedly released and transported by taxi to the Kalandia checkpoint where they were reportedly allowed to pass through one at a time after intense negotiations with the ICRC. According to sources, three PRCS members reportedly required hospitalization for hypothermia after the events. Three others have reportedly remained in custody. As of June 2002, their whereabouts and conditions were still unknown to the PRCS and ICRC.

332. Ziad Mahmoud Al Tarafi, a PRCS first aid volunteer, was reportedly detained for 16 days in Ofra camp near Beitunia. According to the information received, on 16 April 2002, Mr. Al Tarafi and a colleague were driving an ambulance back to a station when Israeli soldiers pointed their weapons at the ambulance and ordered them out. After having checked their identity cards and released his colleague, the soldiers reportedly ordered Mr. Al Tarafi to take off his PRCS uniform and attached his hands with plastic handcuffs. The soldiers then reportedly took Mr. Al Tarafi in an armoured personal carrier to a place beside the nursing college in the Em Al Sharayet area of Al Bireh. There, the soldiers reportedly blindfolded Mr. Al Tarafi and two other civilians and took them to a room inside the college where they reportedly beat them for half an hour. The soldiers then reportedly took the three to the outside of Ofra camp which they were reportedly held blindfolded for several hours before being admitted by the guards. Three days after his arrival at the camp, soldiers reportedly blindfolded and handcuffed Mr. Al Tarafi again and took him by bus together with other prisoners to an unidentified place for interrogation. Mr. Al Tarafi was then reportedly returned to the camp. Several days later, Mr. Al Tarafi was reportedly taken again to the same unidentified place where he was reportedly interrogated a second time. He was reportedly released two days later.

333. On 21 April 2002, Israeli troops stationed at Qalandia checkpoint, north Jerusalem, reportedly opened fire at an ambulance belonging to Khaled Maternity Hospital in Ramallah. According to sources, the ambulance driver Shaher Saleh was driving a patient to Al Maqased Hospital in Jerusalem. One hundred metres before reaching Qalandia checkpoint, Israeli troops reportedly opened fire at the ambulance, hitting the windscreen with several bullets. Mr. Saleh was reportedly injured by shrapnel in the eyes and the patient in the hands.

334. On 27 June 2002 at around 4 p.m., a PRCS team that was transporting by ambulance two patients from Ramallah Hospital to their homes in Jenin was reportedly detained and assaulted by Israeli soldiers. According to the information received, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) Mahmoud Al-Karami, Mahmoud Rabaiiah and Fadi Jara were on route to pick up another patient at Al-Maqassed Hospital when they were reportedly stopped by Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem and ordered out of the vehicle with their patients. One of the patients, recovering from heart surgery, was reportedly placed in the street under the sun, causing him severe discomfort. The soldiers then reportedly grabbed the EMTs by the necks and shook them. They also reportedly hit them with their rifles on the legs and in the stomach. Then, the soldiers, joined by police and border guards, reportedly ordered the EMTs to stand facing a wall and proceeded to search the ambulance and to remove the medicine and supplies. An Israeli bomb expert who was brought to the scene reportedly took everything apart in the ambulance. According to the information received, the soldiers reportedly continued to harass the EMTs for over three hours, allegedly taking turns at hitting and swearing at them. At one point, Mr.Jara reportedly tried to intervene on behalf of one of the patients, but the soldier allegedly replied “I want you all dead, so I don’t care about you.” A patient who had had leg surgery was reportedly hit on the leg by the soldiers causing some of the sutures to tear and bleed. He was reportedly forced to remain standing for three hours after which the soldiers and the police reportedly took him, the other patient and the EMTs to Mesqubia Prison (Russian Compound) in Jerusalem. While in detention, a Magen David Adom ambulance reportedly arrived at the compound for an unrelated case and Israeli soldiers reportedly asked the medics to examine the Palestinian patients. The Magen David Adom medics reportedly confirmed the patients’ medical status. After intervention by the ICRC, the team and their patients were reportedly released at 9 p.m.

335. On the evening of 1 July 2002, Israeli tanks reportedly fired at two PRCS ambulances and rolled over one of them, completely destroying it. Both ambulances were reportedly parked in a lot of the Khalil Sulieman Hospital in Jenin. According to the information received, no one was in the ambulances at the time of the attack.

336. On 11 August 2002, “Adalah”, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, reportedly learned through the media that an investigation into the activities of the organization was to be initiated by the Registrar of Associations. According to the information received, Adalah was reportedly not given any official notification of such a decision until 22 August 2002. Further, the Registrar of Associations reportedly did not approach Adalah to request information or documents before announcing its decision to the media. A letter of protest sent on the same day by Adalah to the Attorney General and other State authorities has reportedly not been answered. According to the information received, the investigation was to be carried out into the alleged undertaking of activities beyond the scope of Adalah’s mandate and alleged concerns related to financial mismanagement and Adalah’s affiliation with a political party. Fears have been expressed that the decision of the Registrar of Associations may in fact be linked to Adalah’s involvement in many recent high-profile litigation cases on behalf of the Arab minority. According to sources, the decision followed a break-in into Adalah’s offices in Shefa’amr on 20 July 2002 during which computer hard disks, laptop computers, a digital camera, tape recorders, videotapes, cash and checks were reportedly stolen but other valuable equipment left behind.

Communications received

337. By letter dated 5 August 2002, the Government replied to the allegation letter sent on 26 September 2001 regarding Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj (E/CN.4/2002/106, annex, para. 222). The Government informed the Special Representative that the relevant Israeli authorities had found that no request for a permit to exit Israel in order to attend the workshop in Rome had been submitted by Dr. El-Sarraj. The Government added that at the request of the High Court of Justice Division of the State Attorney’s Office, Dr. El-Sarraj’s departure from Israel in order to travel to London during the month of July 2001 had been approved. Dr. El-Sarraj had left Israel on 18 May 2001 and returned on 12 June 2001 and left once again for London on 3 July 2001 and returned on 15 July 2001. With regard to the allegation that Dr. El-Sarraj was prevented from leaving Gaza to be interviewed by the BBC, the Government indicated that no request to leave Gaza had been found. The Government noted, however, that between the months of May and July, Dr. El-Sarraj had visited London twice during which time the BBC could easily have interviewed him.

Observations

338. The Special Rapporteur thanks the Government for its reply. She regrets, however, that at the time of finalization of the present report she has yet to receive a response to her other communications.

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Palestinian Authority

Communication sent

520. On 8 July 2002, the Special Representative and the Special Rapporteur on torture sent an urgent appeal regarding Khaidar Ghanem, a 39-year-old B'Tselem fieldworker who is currently in the custody of the Palestinian Preventive Security apparatus. He was reportedly arrested on 3 July in Gaza and is believed now to be under interrogation for collaboration. Fears have been expressed that he may have been arrested in connection with his work at B'Tselem, in particular collecting testimonies from Palestinian residents on alleged human rights violations in the Rafah area of the Gaza Strip, and that he may be at risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment in view of the incomunicado nature of his detention.

521. On 30 October 2002, the Special Representative together with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions sent another urgent appeal regarding Mr. Ghanem. According to the information received, he was allegedly convicted of “collaboration” with the Israeli authorities and sentenced to death on 28 October 2002 by the State Security Court in Gaza. The death sentence imposed on Mr. Ghanem must be ratified by President Arafat, after which he could be executed at any time. According to the information received, his trial lasted 2 1/2 hours. He was represented by a court-appointed lawyer. A number of Palestinian lawyers in Gaza reportedly refused to represent clients before the State Security Court on the grounds that the trials are unfair. The charges of “collaboration” were apparently linked to the killing of Jamal ‘ Abd al-Qader ‘Abd al-Razeq, a Fatah leader, and three others who were shot dead by the Israeli Defence Forces near the Morag junction in Gaza on 22 November 2000. According to reports, Mr. Ghanem was convicted mainly on the basis of his own confession, with little other evidence.

522. On 29 November 2002, the Special Representative informed the Palestinian Authority that she had received information according to which on 19 November 2001, lawyers of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) were reportedly denied access to Gaza Central Prison. According to the information received, the lawyers submitted a request to the administration of the prison on 18 November 2001 to visit 19 political prisoners legally represented by PCHR. On 19 November 2001, the lawyers were reportedly informed by the prison administration that lawyers’ visits were prohibited by order of Major-General Ghazi El-Jabalai, Chief of Police. According to the information received, the prohibition came while PCHR lawyers were preparing the detainees’ legal defence.

Observations

523. The Special Representative regrets that, at the time of the finalization of the present report, no reply to her communications had been received.

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