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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 182nd session
(Cape Town, 18 April 2008)

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/182/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 181st session (October 2007),

Referring also to the report of the proceedings on Mr. Khader's application for early release by Mr. Sadakat Kadri, barrister-at-law,

Recalling the following: Mr. Hussam Khader was convicted and sentenced in September/ November 2005 on the basis of a plea bargain regarding both the conviction and the sentencing and is currently serving his seven-year prison sentence; the IPU trial observer, Mr. Simon Foreman, concluded in his report 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; complaints have been continuously received about his conditions of detention, more particularly his extremely limited visiting rights; noting in this connection that, on 3 December 2007, Mr. Khader's mother and brother finally obtained permission to visit him,

Considering that Mr. Khader is now eligible for early release and noting in this respect the following: Mr. Khader has submitted a petition for early release which was heard on 3 December 2007 in the presence of an IPU observer, Mr. Sadakat Kadri; a secret report was produced on that occasion by the General Security Services (GSS), to which Mr. Khader's lawyers, who saw it for the first time, objected as it contained incorrect information and, in particular, materially misrepresented the offence for which he was in prison; the release committee adjourned the hearing to 13 December, when the observer was again present; this time, the GSS report did not contain the - apparently - compulsory section on the security risk which Mr. Khader's release would constitute; at the last hearing on 17 February 2008, which was again observed by Barrister Kadri, the release committee dismissed Mr. Khader's application finding that he (a) had had relations with Hezbollah before his arrest, and regarded as irrelevant the fact that such relationship had not formed part of the case against him; (b) that he continued to hold contacts with hostile elements in prison, without, however, any amplification of this, the relevant material being classified; and (c) that Mr. Khader showed a lack of remorse and failure "to shake off his ideologies and abandon the path of the past"

Recalling 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 although he met the criteria set for release; the Speaker of the Knesset, 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 Mr. Sadakat Kadri for the work he carried out and for his report; also thanks the Israeli authorities for the assistance they afforded him during his three visits;

  2. Fully endorses his conclusions, which bear out the serious concerns it has consistently expressed in this case;

  3. Deplores the dismissal of Mr. Khader's application for early release on the basis of a decision which it considers to be wholly arbitrary and to reflect poorly on the administration of justice in this case;

  4. Considers that proceedings which enable a judicial body to base a decision with respect to early release on elements not forming part of the original case against the prisoner concerned, which refer to secret material against which no defence can be possible, and which demand mental capitulation are unworthy of a State based on the rule of law;

  5. Believes that the Knesset, as a guardian of human rights, should closely examine these proceedings and do its utmost to prevent and remedy human rights abuses, whether they concern Israeli citizens or Palestinians in the hands of Israeli authorities;

  6. Firmly restates its 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 and that, given the circumstances of the dismissal of his petition for early release, his continuing imprisonment is unjust;

  7. Calls therefore once again on the Israeli authorities, and in particular on the Speaker of the Knesset, who had undertaken to make representations to the competent authorities, to secure Mr. Khader's prompt release;

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

  9. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the authorities and to the sources;

  10. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 119th Assembly of the IPU (Geneva, October 2008).
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