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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 186th session
(Bangkok, 1 April 2010)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Ahmad Sa'adat, elected in January 2006 to the Palestinian Legislative Council, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/186/12(b)‑R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 185th session (October 2009),

Referring also to the study produced by the Israeli non-governmental organization Yesh Din (Volunteers for Human Rights) on the implementation of due process rights in Israeli military courts in the West Bank, entitled "Backyard Proceedings", which reveals the absence of due process rights in those courts, and to the study published in September 2006 by B'Tselem - the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories - entitled "Barred from Contact: Violation of the Right to Visit Palestinians Held in Israeli Prisons",

Recalling the following: on 14 March 2006, Mr. Sa'adat, whom the Israeli authorities had accused of involvement in the October 2001 murder of Mr. R. Zeevi, the Israeli Minister of Tourism, was abducted by the Israeli Defence Forces from Jericho jail and transferred to Hadarim prison in Israel together with four other prisoners suspected of involvement in the murder; the Israeli authorities concluded one month later that he had not been involved in the killing and charged the other four suspects with the murder; subsequently 19 other charges were brought against Mr. Sa'adat, all of which arise from his leadership of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), considered a terrorist organization by Israel, and none of which allege direct involvement in crimes of violence; on 25 December 2008, Mr. Sa'adat was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment,

Recalling also that Mr. Sa'adat was held in Hadarim prison and transferred in mid-March 2009 to Ashkalon prison; he suffers from cervical neck pain, high blood pressure and asthma and has reportedly not been examined by a physician and does not receive the necessary medical treatment; at the beginning of his detention the Israeli authorities refused to let his wife visit him; for the first seven months, Mr. Sa'adat received no family visit; his children with Palestinian ID cards have not been allowed to visit their father since his arrest, for reasons unknown; in March and June 2009, solitary confinement was imposed on him, which was why he went on a nine-day hunger strike in June 2009,

  1. Reaffirms that Mr. Sa'adat's abduction and transfer to Israel was related not to the murder charge but rather to his political activities as PFLP General Secretary, and that the proceedings against him were therefore based on extra-legal considerations; considers that the imposition of the extremely harsh sentence on him is further evidence of the political motives for his arrest and prosecution as the leader of a political party; calls on Israel to release him forthwith;

  2. Points out that Mr. Sa'adat was tried by a military court and recalls in this respect the consistent concerns which United Nations human rights treaty bodies and special procedures have expressed regarding compliance of military courts with fair-trial guarantees, such as most recently in the report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, on his visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (A/HRC/6/17/Add. 4, 16 November 2007);

  3. Recalls that, in conformity with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, no prisoner shall be punished except in accordance with the terms of a law or regulation and that, in its Article 7, the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners recommend the abolition of solitary confinement; recalls also that solitary confinement may seriously affect the health of prisoners and that international human rights bodies have in various instances concluded that prolonged periods of solitary confinement may amount to torture; urges the authorities to refrain from imposing it again;

  4. Urges the Israeli authorities to respect the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, Article 37 of 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";

  5. Would appreciate receiving information as to Mr. Sa'adat's current conditions of detention, with respect in particular to the frequency of visits and what access he is afforded to medical care;

  6. Reiterates its wish to be granted permission to visit Mr. Sa'adat;

  7. Deeply regrets the lack of response of the parliamentary authorities to the human rights concerns the IPU has expressed in this case and which reflect general human rights concerns about the treatment of Palestinian prisoners by the Israeli authorities; affirms that the Knesset has a duty to ensure respect for human rights and for Israel's obligations as a party to international human rights treaties not only within Israel but also in the Territories that Israel occupies;

  8. Requests the Secretary General to inform the Israeli and Palestinian authorities and any other interested parties of this resolution;

  9. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 123rd IPU Assembly (October 2010).
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