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August 30, 2016 9:49 am

Human Rights Group Accuses Palestinian Authorities of Abusing Journalists, Activists

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – The Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas authorities have been abusing journalists and activists who peacefully criticize the Palestinian government, a human rights NGO asserts.

“Both Palestinian governments, operating independently, have apparently arrived at similar methods of harassment, intimidation and physical abuse of anyone who dares criticize them,” Sari Bashi, Israel/Palestine director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said in a statement.

Human Rights Watch documented five cases – two in the West Bank and three in the Gaza Strip – in which Palestinian security forces arrested or questioned journalists, a political activist and two rap musicians for criticizing the Palestinian government. The four of those people arrested said they were physically abused or tortured.

“[Palestinian] security officers beat or kicked them, deprived them of sleep and proper food, hosed them with cold and then hot water, and made them maintain uncomfortable positions for long hours,” the HRW report said.

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In Gaza, Hamas authorities denied the allegations. In the West Bank, Palestinian Authority officials could not investigate the allegations without a formal complaint.

Bashi said, “The Palestinian people fought hard to gain the protections that accompany membership in the international community, and their leaders should take their treaty obligations seriously.”

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