PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 21/23/98
UA 266/98 Fear of torture or ill-treatment / Possible prisoner of conscience / Legal concern 12 October 1998
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITYJamal al-Tawil, human rights activist
There are fears that Jamal al-Tawil, who has been held in incommunicado detention
at the hands of the Palestinian General Intelligence (mukhabarat) since 7
October 1998, is at risk of torture and ill-treatment.
Jamal al-Tawil was arrested at his home by five armed members of the security
forces on 6 October. No arrest warrant was produced and no reason was given
for his arrest. A house search by the officers resulted in the confiscation
of various of his belongings, including computer discs, videotapes, books and
Jamal al-Tawil was initially taken to the General Intelligence’s Ramallah
detention centre where his wife was permitted to visit him on the day of his
arrest. He reportedly had not been interrogated at that point and had still
not been informed of the reason for his arrest.
The following day Jamal al-Tawil was transferred to Jneid Prison in Nablus.
On 8 October he was again transferred, to a General Intelligence detention
centre in Jericho.
Amnesty International would consider Jamal al-Tawil to be a possible prisoner
of conscience if detained for the peaceful expression of his views and as a
result of his human rights work.
Jamal al-Tawil has been actively involved in human rights work on behalf of
those held prisoner in both Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He was
recently questioned by the Palestinian security forces regarding his activities
for those held by the Palestinian Authority.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in Arabic, English or your own language:
- seeking assurances that Jamal al-Tawil is not being tortured or ill-treated
whilst being held incommunicado at the General Intelligence’s detention centre
- enquiring as to the reason for his arrest on 6 October 1998 and his continuing
- requesting that he be granted immediate and continuing access to his lawyer
and to family members;
- asking for his immediate and unconditional release if he is only held for
the peaceful expression of his views and his human rights activities;
- reminding the Palestinian Authority of its commitment to the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, in particular Article 19: "Everyone has the right
to freedom of expression and opinion."
President Yasser Arafat