IPU Logo-middleInter-Parliamentary Union  
IPU Logo-bottomChemin du Pommier 5, C.P. 330, CH-1218 Le Grand-Saconnex/Geneva, Switzerland  


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. Ahmad Sa’adat, elected in January 2006 to 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,

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 Mr. Sa’adat had not been involved in the killing but charged the other four suspects; 19 other charges were subsequently brought against Mr. Sa’adat, all arising from his leadership of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which Israel considers a terrorist organization, and none of which allege direct involvement in crimes of violence; on 25 December 2008, Mr. Sa’adat was sentenced to 30 years in prison;

  • Mr. Sa’adat suffers from cervical neck pain, high blood pressure and asthma and has reportedly not been examined by a physician and is not receiving the medical treatment he needs; when he was first detained, the Israeli authorities refused to let his wife visit him; for the first seven months, Mr. Sa’adat received no family visits; his children, who have Palestinian identity cards, have not been allowed to visit their father since his arrest, for reasons unknown; in March and June 2009, Mr. Sa’adat was placed in solitary confinement, prompting him to go on a nine-day hunger strike in June 2009;

  • On 21 October 2010, Mr. Sa’adat’s isolation order, due to expire on 21 April 2011, was confirmed a fourth time for a further six months; it was apparently again extended in October 2011, bringing Mr. Sa’adat’s time in isolation to three years,
Noting that, in protest against the abusive use of isolation by the Israeli Prison Service and the announcement in July 2011 by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu of a new punitive policy further restricting prisoner access to education and family visits and increasing the use of isolation and fines as punishment, prisoners held in different Israeli prisons started a hunger strike in early October 2011, and that, according to one of the sources, prisoners from the PFLP have laid particular emphasis in their actions on showing solidarity with Mr. Sa’adat,

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. Sa’adat,

Considering that the Speaker of the Knesset, 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. Sa’adat. Given the details of (his case) and convictions, it is difficult to understand how the IPU would take such a position",

Recalling that, in its concluding observations on Israel’s third periodic report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,* the United Nations Human Rights Committee recommended that all persons under Israel’s jurisdiction and effective control be afforded full enjoyment of the rights enshrined in the Covenant,

  1. Thanks the Speaker for his communication and cooperation; regrets, however, that the former does not address its concern at what seems to be a systematic renewal of Mr. Sa’adat’s isolation order, which will inevitably seriously impair his state of health;

  2. Urges the authorities once again to refrain from extending Mr. Sa’adat’s isolation order, and recalls that they are responsible for any irremediable harm to his health while in their custody;

  3. Stresses once again that, under international human rights law, all persons deprived of their liberty have the right to be treated with humanity and 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; recalls that international human rights bodies, particularly the United Nations Committee against Torture and the United Nations  Human Rights Committee, have on several occasions concluded that prolonged periods of isolation are an act of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment;

  4. Reiterates its wish to ascertainMr. Sa’adat’s current conditions of detention and to be granted permission to visit him;

  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; 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;

  6. 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; 

  7. Reaffirms its position that Mr. Sa’adat’s abduction and transfer to Israel were related not to the murder charge but rather to his political activities as PFLP General Secretary, and that the proceedings brought against him were, therefore, based on political considerations; reiterates, therefore, its call for his immediate release;

  8. Requests the Secretary General to forward this resolution to the Speaker of the Knesset and to the competent Israeli 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).

Note: you can download a complete electronic version of the brochure "Results of the 126th IPU Assembly and related meetings" in PDF format (file size 910 Kb approximately). This version requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download free of charge.Get Acrobat Reader