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Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 173rd session (Geneva, 3 October 2003)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Having before it the case of Mr. Hussam Khader, an incumbent member of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah, which has been the subject of a study and report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians in accordance with the "Procedure for the examination and treatment, by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, of communications concerning violations of human rights of parliamentarians",

Taking note of the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/173/11(b)-R.1), which contains a detailed outline of the case,

Taking account of letters from the Speaker of the Knesset dated 14 and 29 July 2003,

Considering the following information on file:

  • Mr. Khader was arrested in the early hours of 17 March 2003 when, according to the source, some 50 soldiers barged into his house located in Balata refugee camp; they reportedly smashed the entrance door and fired several shots inside the house to terrorise its occupants, among them three children aged eleven, eight, and five years and a nine-month-old baby; the soldiers reportedly confiscated his personal property, including his computer, his mobile telephone and his papers, among them documents relating to his parliamentary work, and then took him, still in pyjamas, to the Petah Tikva detention camp and investigation headquarters; the detention orders have since been regularly renewed; Mr. Khader is also said to have been transferred on several occasions to other detention facilities; on one occasion, his family and lawyer were only informed of the transfer after the lawyer had threatened to file a motion in the court;

  • According to the source, Mr. Khader was held incommunicado for several days after his arrest; only on 24 March 2003 was one of his lawyers, Mr. Ra'ed Mahameed, allowed to see him; on that occasion, Mr. Khader allegedly complained that he was being interrogated for more than 20 hours a day, deprived of sleep and allowed only three hours a day to rest and eat; it is alleged that Mr. Khader reiterated this complaint at a meeting with his lawyer on 4 April 2003, when he told him that he was made to sit on a chair with his hands tied behind his back and his ankles fastened; it is also alleged that at the end of May 2003, before his transfer back from Acre detention centre to the Petah Tikva detention centre, he was held for one week in solitary confinement and thereafter interrogated for 60 hours without interruption and without being allowed to eat;

  • As a result of the interrogation methods and conditions of detention, Mr. Khader is reportedly suffering from severe spinal pain; although his state of health is said to be deteriorating, he reportedly does not receive the necessary medical treatment;

  • According to the Speaker of the Knesset, Mr. Khader was arrested on suspicion of extensive involvement in the military activities of the Tanzim, a terror organisation, including the financing of specific acts of terror; the evidence in this case is currently being examined by the IDF prosecution authorities in order to determine whether to indict Mr. Khader and bring him to trial; according to the source, Mr. Khader is suspected of: (a) jeopardising the region's safety, and (b) engaging in militant activities against Israeli targets in the West Bank; at the first hearing, on 26 March 2003, before the military judge in the Petah Tikva headquarters, his defence counsel was reportedly not allowed to see any of the evidence gathered against him, such material having been classified by the security forces; when asked during cross-examination to elaborate on the alleged commission of such acts by Mr. Khader, the investigators reportedly refused to answer; Mr. Khader will reportedly be tried by a military court,

Considering that, in view of the widely diverging views of the authorities and the sources regarding Mr. Khader's situation, in particular his conditions of detention, the Committee decided to carry out an on-site mission and sought the agreement of the Israeli authorities; on 9 July 2003 the Speaker stated that "unfortunately, an official visit by the representatives of the Committee to the accused man in prison would be interpreted as an enquiry committee into the conditions of imprisonment and we cannot therefore accede to this request"; he reiterated this position on 29 July 2003,

Bearing in mind that Israel is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and is thus bound to respect the rights and liberties therein guaranteed, in particular the right not to be subjected to torture and ill-treatment, the right to freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, and the right to judicial guarantees ensuring fair trial; referring in this respect to the concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee on Israel's second periodic report of 21 August 2003 (CCPR/CO/78/ISR) and its concerns about the use of prolonged detention without any access to a lawyer or other outside persons and certain interrogation techniques,

  1. Thanks the Speaker of the Knesset for the information he provided and for his cooperation;

  2. Expresses deep concern at the serious allegations regarding Mr. Khader's conditions of detention and the interrogation methods used, in particular deprivation of sleep; regrets that the proposed mission could not be carried out as the Israeli authorities refused to let it meet Mr. Khader; therefore considers that it lacks any data such as might dispel its concerns;

  3. Stresses that it is a well-established international doctrine that human rights, including the right to humane conditions of detention and the right to personal and physical integrity, are a matter of international concern, and that ensuring their respect is a duty incumbent upon the international community; observes that this is borne out by, inter alia, the recent adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which prescribes which prescribes for detention centres a mandatory international visiting body;

  4. Recalls that, in its judgment in the "Public Committee against Torture in Israel v. the State of Israel" case, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that "if the suspect is intentionally deprived of sleep for a prolonged period of time, for the purpose of tiring him out or breaking him, it shall not fall within the scope of a fair and reasonable investigation";

  5. Expresses deep concern at the allegation that Mr. Khader and his defence are not given information as to which acts or unlawful activities Mr. Khader is suspected of having committed, which may seriously hamper the preparation of his defence;

  6. Wishes to be kept informed of the proceedings against him; also wishes to ascertain the legal grounds invoked by the Israeli authorities to justify Mr. Khadar's transfer from the Occupied Territories to Israeli territory;

  7. Calls on the Knesset, as a guardian of human rights, to ensure that Mr. Khader's human rights regarding detention and trial are fully respected;

  8. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the Speaker, inviting him to provide the requested information;

  9. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session to be held on the occasion of the 110th Assembly.

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