Rights organizations slam W. Bank court for acquitting five killers of prisoner

Rights organizations slam W. Bank court for acquitting five killers of prisoner

TULKAREM,  Human rights organizations strongly criticized a military court under the authority of Fatah faction for acquitting officers charged with torturing to death Hamas-affiliated prisoner Haitham Amr in the intelligence headquarters in Al-Khalil city.

The organizations called for reinvestigating the circumstances of the death of Amr about a year ago, confirming that there were discrepancies in the court decision which charged the Palestinian authority’s intelligence apparatus with recklessness and declined evidential materials proving the guilt of the officers.

The northern military court in the West Bank decided last week to compel the intelligence apparatus to pay the family of the slain prisoner compensation because of not taking necessary precautions to protect detainees in its prison and decreed that the five officers who killed the prisoner were not guilty.

Lawyer for the independent committee for human rights Gandhi Rab’iee stated that the civil liability for compensation is related to the criminal liability according to law which states that the accused must be first declared guilty before asking him to pay any compensation for his felony.

“How the court says that there is no evidence for the cause of death and then says that the intelligence is responsible for compensation?” Rab’iee questioned.

“If there was a crime and the court agreed that there was negligence that led to this result, it would be necessary to look for the one responsible for this misconduct and punish him,” the lawyer added.

For his part, director of Al-Haq organization for human rights Sha’wan Jabarin stated that the acquittal of the five officers for the absence of sufficient evidence was not only shameful but a serious matter as well, especially since the crime scene is known, which is the intelligence headquarters, and the perpetrators are also known.

“Either the court decision was a reflection of the military prosecutor’s failure to provide sufficient evidence in the matter or there was collusion within the military justice system in order to cover up the crime,” Jabarin told Al-Jazeera Net.

He pointed out that all evidential documents including the autopsy report confirmed that the cause of death was the direct torture and the talk about a lack of evidence with the presence of concrete forensic evidence for the crime is a very shocking matter.

The human rights activist emphasized that the case of Amr revealed that the military courts in the West Bank are controlled by political parties and the executive power and do not work according to the principles of the Palestinian law.