Official: PA Forces Regularly Conduct politically Motivated Arrests

Palestinian Authority police regularly detain people in the West Bank due to their political affiliation, an official said Sunday.

Khalil Assaf, a member of the subcommittee on civil liberties formed after the West Bank-Gaza unity government was sworn in in June, told Ma’an that regardless of the committee’s formation, none of its recommendations have been implemented.

“Every day people are being detained in the West Bank because of their political affiliation, though in most cases they are released within days,” Assaf said.

Though he could not give an exact number of political detainees, he said “we are talking about dozens” of people.

The subcommittee, which was tasked with maintaining and monitoring civil liberties in the West Bank and Gaza, has not been summoned for any meetings with the rest of the unity government so far, Assaf said.

He said it was formed in order to address several aspects of freedom in a democratic society: the freedoms of work, assembly, research, and movement; the freedom to distribute newspapers; the freedom to participate in political activities without discrimination; providing passports to citizens who had previously been denied passports; and the issue of citizens being summoned for questioning both in the West Bank and Gaza.

Palestinian political leaders have been unable to implement these freedoms due to the lack of full implementation of the unity government, he added.

Critics of the US-backed PA often decry the night raids conducted by Palestinian police to arrest dissenting politically active individuals, stressing that they are carried out in a manner nearly identical to the raids conducted by occupying Israeli forces.

(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)

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