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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 190th session
(Kampala, 5 April 2012)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Marwan Barghouti, an incumbent member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and to the resolution adopted at its 189th session (October 2011),

Taking into account the letter from the Speaker of the Knesset dated 4 January 2012,

Also referring to Mr. Simon Foreman’s expert report on Mr. Barghouti's trial (CL/177/11(a)-R.2) 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: Mr. Barghouti was arrested on 15 April 2002 in Ramallah by the Israeli Defence Forces and transferred to a detention centre in Israel; on 20 May 2004, Tel Aviv District Court convicted him on one count of murder relating to attacks that killed five Israelis, on one count of attempted murder relating to a planned car bomb attack and on one count of membership in a terrorist organization, and sentenced him to five life sentences and two 20‑year prison terms; Mr. Barghouti did not lodge an appeal because he does not recognize Israeli jurisdiction; in his comprehensive report on Mr. Barghouti’s trial, Mr. Foreman stated that "the numerous breaches of international law make it impossible to conclude that Mr. Barghouti was given a fair trial"; those breaches include the use of torture,

Recalling that, in its concluding observations on the third periodic report of Israel under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,* the Human Rights Committee recommended that Israel incorporate in its legislation the crime of torture, that it ensure that all alleged cases of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment by law enforcement officials are thoroughly and promptly investigated by an independent authority, that those found guilty be punished with sentences commensurate with the gravity of the offence and that compensation be provided to the victims or their families, and that all persons under Israel’s jurisdiction and effective control be afforded full enjoyment of the rights enshrined in the Covenant,

Recalling that, under the terms of the Israel/Hamas-brokered prisoner exchange, Israel released 477 Palestinian prisoners on 18 October 2011 and another 550 Palestinian prisoners during December 2011, and that those released included prisoners convicted of plotting suicide bombings inside buses and restaurants, such as Ahlam Tamimi, who had been sentenced to 16 life sentences, but not Mr. Barghouti; recalling also that several members of the Knesset have in the past called for Mr. Barghouti’s release, including Amir Peretz in March 2008 and later Guideon Ezra, member of Kadima, and that, following Mr. Barghouti’s election in August 2009 to Fatah’s Central Committee, the then Israeli Minister for Minority Affairs, Avishaï Braverman, expressed support for his release,

Considering that the Speaker, in his letter of 4 January 2012, states that "Israel, like any other democratic state, has an obligation to public order and the security of its citizens and to bring to trial individuals who threaten their lives. The claim that terrorists with blood on their hands should somehow be entitled to impunity due to holding a technical title of a parliamentarian defies international law, Israeli domestic law and common sense; the report mentions the hope for an early release of […] Mr. Barghouti. Given the details of (his case) and convictions, it is difficult to understand how the IPU would take such a position",

Considering that, reportedly after calling on Palestinians on 26 March 2012 to put an immediate stop to negotiations with Israel, Mr. Barghouti was put into solitary confinement,

  1. Thanks the Speaker for his communication and cooperation;

  2. Stresses that its objective is to ensure that parliamentarians subject to judicial proceedings stand trial in a court of law affording all the guarantees of due process and not, contrary to what the Speaker affirms, to shield them from being held to account for any crimes they may have committed;

  3. Reaffirms its position in this regard that Mr. Barghouti’s arrest and transfer to Israeli territory were in violation of international law; also reaffirms, in the light of the compelling legal arguments put forward in Mr. Foreman’s report, on which the Israeli authorities have not provided observations, that Mr. Barghouti’s trial failed to meet the fair-trial standards which Israel, as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, is bound to respect, and that as a result Mr. Barghouti’s guilt has not been established;

  4. Reiterates, therefore, its call for his immediate release;

  5. Is concerned at Mr. Barghouti's recent solitary confinement and the allegations invoked to justify it; wishes to receive an official response on the matter and to know how long Mr. Barghouti will remain in solitary confinement; remains eager to receive official information regarding the conditions under which Mr. Barghouti is usually held, in particular as regards his family visiting rights and the access to medical care afforded him;

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

  7. Reiterates its long-standing wish to be granted permission to visit Mr. Barghouti;

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

  9. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and to report to it at its next session, to be held during the 127th IPU Assembly (October 2012).

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