The Israeli High Court of Justice today, 25 July 2005, dismissed a petition submitted by PCHR on behalf of Mohammad Said Shaqqura, 32, from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). The petition sought to ensure that Shaqqura was given access to a lawyer during his interrogation in an Israeli prison.
Mohammad Shaqqura is married with four children and has been held by the Israeli Security Services since 10 July 2005. Shaqqura was arrested at Rafah International Crossing Point on the Egyptian border and subsequently transferred to Ashkelon Prison. Since this time he has been held by the Interrogation Section of the Israeli Security Services and a PCHR lawyer has been continually denied access to visit Shaqqura. PCHR does not know the reason why Shaqqura was detained or if any charges have been laid against him.
Yesterday, 24 July 2005, PCHR petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice in order to gain access for Shaqqura to a lawyer. However, today the Court ruled against PCHR’s petition citing that they were satisfied with the justification provided by the Security Services for the denial of access. This information provided by the Security Services in response to the Court was not released to PCHR and has not been made public.
PCHR is concerned about the possible use of torture and other cruel and inhumane methods against Shaqqura to extract a confession and/or information. PCHR has documented several cases in 2005 in which Palestinian detainees at Ashkelon Prison were subjected to torture during their interrogations. Such torture has been documented particularly during the periods in which access to a lawyer was denied.
PCHR condemns the methods employed by Israeli Security Services against Palestinian detainees which are carried out under the cover of the Israeli judicial establishment. Further, PCHR condemns the latest action by the Israeli High Court of Justice to deny Palestinian detainees’ access to a lawyer during their detention.