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October 24, 2007

Torture

-- by Dave Johnson

From Al Jazeera: Al Jazeera English - News - Palestinian 'Torture Widespread',

Amnesty International has accused Hamas and Fatah of widespread human rights abuses, including torture, arbitrary detention and other ill treatment against each other.

The rights watchdog on Wednesday released a report criticising the Palestinian governments in both Gaza and the West Bank for harming civilians in their clashes.

... In the report, the group said: "Arbitrary detentions and torture or other ill treatment of detainees by Hamas forces are now widespread and the initial improvements in the security situation which followed Hamas' takeover [of Gaza] are fast being eroded."

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Donatella Rovera, author of the report, said Hamas forces were now conducting a clampdown on Fatah supporters and anyone else critical of them in the Gaza Strip.

However, she said: "What we're finding in the West Bank is pretty much a mirror image, even though it is much less reported.

... In the Gaza Strip, members of Hamas' military wing act as police and have detained and tortured Fatah activists and critics. Hamas police routinely beat protesters to break up demonstrations, and have roughed up journalists covering the events, Amnesty said.

In the West Bank, security forces detained about 1,000 Hamas sympathisers and members, forcing many to sign statements condemning the group and disavowing their loyalties to it.

Although most were held briefly, many reported being ill-treated or tortured, the Amnesty report said.

Posted by Dave Johnson at October 24, 2007 2:56 PM

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