Palestinian Detained and Tortured in al- Mashtal Detention Center Dies

16 July 07

Palestinian Center for Human Rights - PCHR calls for opening an immediate investigation into the death of Waleed Abu Dalfa during his detention in al-Mashtal intelligence outpost, northwest of Gaza City, after he and his bother had been tortured by the Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the military wing of Hamas) which currently control the outpost. PCHR also strongly condemns arrests and detentions by the Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades, which are often accompanied by practicing torture against a number of detainees, and calls for stopping such illegal practices, emphasizing that Hamas’ military wing does not have any legal status that entitles them to arrest or detain people.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 23:00 on Sunday, 15 July 2007, the body of Waleed Salman Abu Dalfa, 45, from Gaza City, was brought to the reception department at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, carried on a litter by members of the Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades. According to initial medical checking conducted by a doctor, there were “bruises on the hands and the legs, hematomas in the legs and signs of stranglehold on the neck.” These results were further asserted also by a forensic specialist who checked the body on Monday morning, 16 July 2007, in the presence of a representative of PCHR and a relative of the victim. These results indicate that Abu Dalfa died when he was subjected to torture during detention, which was also asserted by PCHR, which additionally concluded that his brother, 41-year-old Khalil Salman Abu Dalfa, who had been also subjected to torture before being released following his brother’s death.

At least 40 masked militants raided the house of the Abu Dalfa family in al-Nasser neighborhood in Gaza City at approximately 23:30 on Monday, 9 July 2007. They arrested the two brothers, Waleed and Khalil, and took them to al-Mashtal outpost in the north of al-Shati refugee camp, west of Gaza City, which has been controlled by the Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades since Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip. On Thursday, 12 July, a third brother, 37-year-old Wa’el, was arrested.

According to Khalil Abu Dalfa, when he and his brother Waleed were taken to al-Mashtal outpost, they were blindfolded, handcuffed and detained in two separate, but adjacent rooms. He told PCHR that they could hear each other’s voice. The two brothers were subjected to beating and torture, including tying with chains in uncomfortable positions and pouring cold water onto their bodies. The two brothers were screaming of pain and lost consciousness more than once. At approximately 20:30 on Sunday, 15 July 2007, Khalil could not hear the voice of his brother Waleed, so he started screaming on him. Then, 3 masked persons entered the room and took the cover off his eyes and told him that his brother refused to eat. Khalil heard one of those persons saying: “You tied him in a wrong way,” and requested the release of Khalil and his brother Wa’el. However, Khalil refused to leave the outpost without knowing the destiny of his brother Waleed. He was informed that Waleed lost consciousness and was taken to Shifa Hospital. As soon as they were released, Khalil and Wa’el went to Shifa Hospital where they found their brother Waleed dead.

In light of the above:

1) PCHR calls for initiating an immediate investigation into the death of Waleed Abu Dalfa, and bringing those who were involved in torturing him and his brother to the judiciary.

2) PCHR condemns illegal arrests conducted by the Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades, and calls for stopping such actions and closing all detention centers controlled by the Brigades.

3) Stresses that arrests and detentions are regulated by the Palestinian law and fall under the mandate of judicial warranty officials, including the civil police, under the Attorney-General’s supervision.

4) PCHR is currently investigating a number of cases, in which dozens of people were subjected to beating, torture and other forms of cruel and degrading treatment while being detained by the Executive Force.

About PCHR

The Centre is an independent Palestinian human rights organization based in Gaza City. The Centre enjoys Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of the United Nations. It is an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists-Geneva, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) - Paris, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network - Copenhagen, Arab Organization for Human Rights - Cairo, and International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC) Stockholm. It is a recipient of the 1996 French Republic Award on Human Rights and the 2002 Bruno Kreisky Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Area of Human Rights. The Centre was established in 1995 by a group of Palestinian lawyers and human rights activists in order to:

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Protect human rights and promote the rule of law in accordance with international standards. *

Create and develop democratic institutions and an active civil society, while promoting democratic culture within Palestinian society. *

Support all the efforts aimed at enabling the Palestinian people to exercise its inalienable rights in regard to self-determination and independence in accordance with international Law and UN resolutions.

The work of the Centre is conducted through documentation and investigation of human rights violations, provision of legal aid and counseling for both individuals and groups, and preparation of research articles relevant to such issues as the human rights situation and the rule of law. The Centre also provides comments on Palestinian Draft Laws and urges the adoption of legislation that incorporates international human rights standards and basic democratic principles. To achieve its goals, the Centre has recruited a committed staff of well-known human rights lawyers and activists.

See online: PCHR
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