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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 187th session
(Geneva, 6 October 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/187/12(b)‑R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 186th session (April 2010),

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 and 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) and 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; Mr. Sa'adat 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 identity 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. Noting that, in its concluding observations on the third periodic report of Israel under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),* the Human Rights Committee recommended that all persons under Israel’s jurisdiction and effective control be afforded the full enjoyment of the rights enshrined in the Covenant,

              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 extremely harsh sentence he was given is further evidence of the political motives underlying 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 persistent concerns expressed by United Nations human rights treaty bodies and special procedures regarding the compliance of military courts with fair-trial guarantees, 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. Observes that Mr. Sa’adat has repeatedly been held in solitary confinement; 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 Article 7 of the Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners recommends the abolition of solitary confinement; recalls also that solitary confinement can 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 holding Mr. Sa’adat in solitary confinement again;

  4. Remains deeply concerned at Mr. Sa’adat’s extremely limited visiting rights and, more particularly, the arbitrariness of the decisions authorizing or denying visits; recalls that Article 37 of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners 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. Regrets the absence of any official reply; believes that the Israeli Knesset’s oversight function extends also to the Israeli Prison Service and its treatment of Palestinian prisoners, and that the Knesset should therefore be concerned by reports indicating treatment which may not be in line with Israel’s obligations under international law, as the United Nations Human Rights Committee spelt them out in its concluding observations on Israel’s third periodic report; reiterates its wish to receive the Knesset’s comments on this point;

  6. Reiterates its wish to receive information on 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;

  7. Further reiterates its wishto be granted permission to visit Mr. Sa’adat;

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