News & Activites 31 March 2016
ICHR demands immediate release of Qawasmeh and Amre
The Independent Commission for Human Rights(ICHR) calls for the immediate release of chairperson of the Hebron-based Minbar al-Hurriyya Radio Station Ayman Qawasmeh, 45, and founder of Youth against Settlement Issa Amre, 37, arrested by the Preventive Security Service for taking positions on political issues. The commission believes that their arrest was due to expression of their opinion on these issues.
ICHR has followed up the arrest of Mr. Qawasmeh yesterday and the summoning of Mr. Amre by the Preventive Security Service in Hebron today. To date, the two have not been released. The commission has paid a visit to Qawasmeh in the Preventive Security detention center in Hebron.
The commission has seen in the last few months an increase in cases of detention and arrests of citizens against the background of freedom of speech and expression of opinion. This shows a sharp downturn in the right to freedom of speech and contrasts starkly with President Mahmoud Abbas’s and Prime Minister’s statements concerning freedom of opinion and speech. This practice also contravenes Palestine’s international commitments and its ratification of international treaties and the Arab World Declaration of Freedom. Therefore, the commission demands the following:
1. Immediate release of Mr. Qawasmeh and Mr. Essa Amre.
2. Refrain from summoning citizens and journalists for publishing and expressing their opinions and taking positions on political issues.
3. Refrain from using the power of precautionary detention as a punishment or suffocation of freedom of opinion and expression and muzzling and restricting it to exceptional cases which pose potential risk and can’t be handled except by that measure.
4. Reconsideration of freedom-related laws in force which include Penalty Law, Publication and Copyright Law, Law by Decree in the matter of electronic crimes and amendment of these laws to make them reconcile with international standards and be in harmony with Palestine’s commitments to international treaties which it has ratified. In this context, the authorities should annul imprisonment or any other penalty which includes incarceration of journalists or citizens in case of committing a crime of opinion and replacing it with alternative less harsh punishments.