Legal access granted to students detained at Palestinian Preventive Security Headquarters in Jericho

On 2 March 2000, a delegation of lawyers and representatives from the Council of Palestinian Human Rights Organizations, including the HRAP lawyer and coordinator, was granted access to visit Birzeit University students detained at the Preventive Security (PSS) headquarters in Jericho since 26 February 2000. The delegation was able to meet freely with seven of the eight students being held at the PSS headquarters. The students were in good condition and reported that they were not being interrogated, although they had previously been placed in position abuse on their first day of detention, one student reportedly for ten hours. Another student reported that he had been beaten by security officers on the first day of his arrest. However, the eighth student has been in isolation since his arrest on 26 February 2000. A request to visit the student by the delegation was denied. The Human Rights Action Project is gravely concerned for his well being.

The delegation also submitted a request to visit Birzeit students detained at the General Security Services Headquarters in Jericho, but as of yet has not received a response. However, according to affidavits of released students, two students are in need of immediate medical attention which they have not received to date. One of the students was transferred briefly to the hospital after encountering severe difficulties breathing and was prescribed medication which he has not received to date. The other requires treatment for injuries to his face and hand sustained while he was reportedly beaten by security officials upon his arrest.

At the time of writing, HRAP has knowledge of thirty-two students who are currently being held in detention; it is not clear if this is the total number of detentions, as the HRAP attorney to date has been denied information on the number of detainees. According to HRAP information, nineteen students remain in detention in the General Security Services Headquarters in Jericho, eight students are being held in the Preventive Security headquarters in Jericho, two students in the Preventive Security section of Jneid prison in Nablus, and three students in the Preventive Security prison in Bethlehem.

HRAP will provide regular human rights updates on the current situation. We urge the international community to express their concern for the well being of the students and protest the recent arrests, calling for the immediate release of the students. Letters of protest may be directed to:

President Yasser Arafat 
Palestinian Authority 
Office of the President 
Gaza City, Palestinian Authority 
Faxes: + 972 7 282 2365 (when voice answers, please request fax tone)

Brigadier General Tawfik al-Tirawi 
Head of the General Intelligence (West Bank) 
Ramallah, Palestinian Authority 
Faxes: + 972 2 232 1283 

Colonel Jibril al-Rajub 
Head of the Preventive Security Service (West Bank) 
Jericho, Palestinian Authority 
Faxes: + 972 2 232 1273 (when voice answers, please request fax tone)