PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 21/08/98
UA 116/98 Fear of torture / Legal concern 16 April 1998
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITYGhassan al-Adassi, 19
Dr ‘Abd al-Aziz Rantissi, 51
At least 40 others
There are serious concerns about the above named men and at least 40 others
who have been arrested by the Palestinian security and police forces since
29 March 1998.
Ghassan al-Adassi, a Birzeit University student, was arrested by the Palestinian
Preventive Security Service (PSS) on 29 March at his home in al-Bireh in the
West Bank. He has reportedly suffered torture during detention, including
beatings, sleep deprivation and hanging from his hands. A letter he allegedly
wrote states that his confession to involvement in the murder of Muhyi al-Din
Sharif, a leader of the military wing of Hamas, was extracted under torture.
He has been denied access to his lawyer, who has repeatedly asked to see him.
Dr ‘Abd al-Aziz Rantissi, a Hamas spokesman and leader from the Gaza Strip,
was arrested by Palestinian police on 9 April after Hamas had issued statements
accusing the Palestinian Authority (PA) of involvement in the killing of Muhyi
al-Din Sharif. According to a police official, Dr Rantissi was "arrested for
interrogation following baseless accusations and insults he made against the
Palestinian Authority". If so, Amnesty International would consider Dr Rantissi
to be a prisoner of conscience.
Since his arrest, Dr Rantissi has not been allowed to receive visits from his
lawyer or family, despite the fact that the Attorney General granted his lawyer
permission to visit him.
At least 40 other suspected members of Hamas and other Islamic groups have
been arrested since 29 March. Amnesty International is concerned that they
are not being allowed access to their families and lawyers and fears that they
may be in danger of ill-treatment or torture.
All the above arrests have occurred following the mysterious death of Muhyi
al-Din Sharif in the West Bank on 29 March 1998. The PA stated that he was
killed by fellow members of the military wing of Hamas. Hamas then denied the
charge, claiming that Israel, aided by members of the PA, was behind his death.
The PA subsequently launched a series of arrests targeting Islamists, including
prominent Hamas members.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/e-mails/express/airmail
letters in Arabic, English or your own language:
- asking for assurances that all those arrested since 29 March 1998 are well
treated and allowed immediate access to their lawyers and families;
- calling for the immediate release of all detainees unless they are charged
with a recognizably criminal offence and given a fair and prompt trial;
- in the case of Ghassan al-Adassi, asking that the allegations of torture
be investigated and reminding the authorities that confessions extracted under
torture must not be allowed as evidence in court;
- in the case of Dr ‘Abd al-Aziz Rantissi, asking for his immediate and
unconditional release if he is only held for the peaceful expression of his