Palestinian Security Forces Accused of Torture
Fighting between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas has led to human rights abuses in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch. A Palestinian human rights organization recently drew similar conclusions. Both sides have admitted to at least some of the findings of the report.
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Dmitri Diliani, a Fatah spokesman in Jerusalem, said there were “definitely abuses of human rights and we are committed to fixing them.” But he added: “The violations in the West Bank stem from the fact that Israel has not permitted our security forces to train and has destroyed our police stations and jails. In Gaza, they stem from a military coup and a refusal to accept the other. It is a mistake to compare these two situations.”
In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told the Associated Press that “mistakes” had been made by Hamas forces and that violators were being punished.
Human Rights Watch said that over the past year, Fatah-run security forces in the West Bank have arrested hundreds of Hamas members and supporters, detaining many without warrants and torturing prisoners under interrogation. The most common form of torture was forcing detainees to hold stress positions for prolonged periods, Human Rights Watch said.
The report found that Hamas forces in Gaza committed many of the same abuses and that three detainees died in custody in Gaza, apparently from torture.
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