ICHR demands immediate release of Qawasmeh and Amre




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.