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Resolution adopted by concensus by the IPU Governing Council at its 188th session 1
(Panama, 20 April 2011)

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/188/13(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 187th session (October 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 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 that 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,

Considering that on 21 October 2010, Mr. Sa’adat’s fourth isolation order, due to expire on 21 April 2011, was confirmed for another six months, and that Mr. Sa’adat has by now been held for 25 months in solitary confinement,

Noting that, in its concluding observations on the third periodic report of Israel under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),2 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. Is appalled at the prolonged solitary confinement imposed on Mr. Sa’adat, to which he has now been subjected for more than two years;

  2. Firmly recalls that under international human rights law all persons deprived of their liberty have the right to be treated with humanity, with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and not to be subjected to torture and to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

  3. Stresses that international human rights bodies have on several occasions concluded that prolonged periods of solitary confinement can be tantamount to torture, and fears that such is the case here; solitary confinement can seriously affect the health of prisoners, and certainly does so in the case of Mr. Sa’adat, who suffers from various ailments for which he has not been receiving medical treatment; urges the authorities to put an immediate end to his solitary confinement and to refrain from imposing it again, and recalls that they are responsible for any irremediable harm to his health while in their custody;

  4. Wishes to ascertain Mr. Sa’adat’s current conditions of detention, in particular with respect to the access to medical care he is afforded and the frequency of visits he receives; reiterates its wish to be granted permission to visit Mr. Sa’adat;

  5. Considers that the many national and international reports denouncing the detention conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails should be of concern to the Knesset; affirms that the Knesset is not only fully entitled but should exercise its oversight function of the Israeli prison service with regard not only to Israeli but also to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, and so ensure that all persons under Israel’s jurisdiction and effective control are afforded the full enjoyment of the rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);

  6. Reaffirms its position 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 solely on political considerations, which also explains the extremely harsh sentence imposed on him; calls on Israel to release him forthwith;

  7. 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;

  8. Requests the Secretary General to forward this resolution to the Speaker of the Knesset and the competent governmental and administrative authorities, and to seek from them the requested information;

  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 125th IPU Assembly (October 2011).

1 The delegation of Palestine expressed its reservation regarding the resolution.
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