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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 181st session
(Geneva, 10 October 2007)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Hussam Khader, a former member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/181/11(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 180th session (May 2007),

Recalling that:

  • Mr. Hussam Khader was arrested on 17 March 2003 at his home in Balata refugee camp by the Israeli Defence Forces and was charged with (i) performance of a service for an unauthorized organization, (ii) an attempt to wilfully cause death, and (iii) failure to prevent three offences; at the court hearing of 4 September 2005, at which an IPU trial observer was present, Mr. Khader, on the basis of a plea bargain, confessed to three of the charges as amended, none of which imply any personal involvement in violent acts; the Military Court of Samaria convicted him accordingly; a plea bargain was also reached regarding the sentence, and on 27 November 2005 the judge sentenced him to seven years' imprisonment and a period of parole of five years, with 12 months' imprisonment should he break his parole, starting from the day of his release;

  • The IPU trial observer, Mr. Simon Foreman, concluded that Mr. Khader "has not, since his arrest [in March 2003], had the benefit of compliance with the international rules of fair trial";

  • Mr. Khader was subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment while in detention and no convincing evidence to the contrary has been submitted by the Israeli authorities;

  • Mr. Khader's conditions of detention have reportedly worsened since April 2006, affecting in particular his right to receive visits, letters and medical care; during the past months Mr. Khader's mother has reportedly not been given permission to visit her son for security reasons; his brother, Mr. Ghassan Khader, had to go to the Ministry of Interior to prove that he was his brother and submitted his papers twice but has had no answer for over two years, and Mr. Khader's family occasionally receives letters that he mailed but usually months after they were posted; in August 2007, all prisoners in the Beer Shiva prison where he is held were reportedly under a "punishment regime", meaning that all visits were banned for a month, and prisoners went on a hunger strike for a few days,
Considering that in July 2007 the Government of Israel released 255 Palestinian prisoners belonging to Fatah "who have no blood on their hands"; that, however, Mr. Hussam Khader was not among them; noting in this respect that the Secretary General, on learning of the Government's intention to release Palestinian prisoners, sent a special request to the Speaker of the Knesset, appealing to her on the IPU's behalf to ensure that Mr. Khader would be on this list and that, in response, the Speaker, in a letter dated 24 July 2007 and conveyed to the IPU Secretariat in September 2007, stated that Mr. Hussam Khader could unfortunately not be included in the release of the Fatah members, and undertook to ask the competent authorities to look into the matter again,
  1. Thanks the Speaker for her reply, but is nevertheless very concerned that Mr. Khader, who clearly meets the criteria for release set by the Israeli authorities as he has "no blood on his hands", was not among those released despite the numerous appeals the IPU has made in favour of his release; trusts that the Speaker of the Knesset will make every effort to draw the attention of the competent authorities to Mr. Khader's situation and to press upon them the IPU's urgent appeal for his release;

  2. Firmly restates in this respectits conviction, in the light of Mr. Foreman's report on Mr. Khader's trial, that Mr. Khader has not enjoyed a fair trial, without which there can be no fair establishment of guilt;

  3. Reaffirms that the Israeli authorities have a duty under the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), to which Israel is a State Party, to investigate the evidence given in court by Mr. Khader and the main prosecution witness that they were tortured and ill-treated; and once again urges the Knesset to exercise its oversight powers to ensure compliance with Israel's obligations under CAT;

  4. Remains deeply concerned at Mr. Khader's conditions of detention, with regard in particular to his extremely limited visiting rights; and recalls in this respect Rule 37 of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, which stipulates that "prisoners shall be allowed […] to communicate with their family and reputable friends at regular intervals, both by correspondence and by receiving visits";

    Reiterates its wish to ascertain why his mother would constitute a security risk and thus have been prevented from visiting him; also reiterates its wish to receive detailed information on Mr. Khader's conditions of detention and state of health;

  5. Reiterates its wish that a Committee member be permitted to pay Mr. Khader a private visit;

  6. Requests the Secretary General to convey its concerns in this case to the parliamentary and the competent governmental and administrative authorities;

  7. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 118th Assembly of the IPU (Cape Town, April 2008).
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