Hamas request to visit detainees refused by Abbas

PA president turns down request by Hamas legislators to visit “political” detainees held in Palestinian Authority prisons.

April 2, 2013 01:30
1 minute read.
PALESTINIANS RALLY in Ramallah for Prisoners Day

PALESTINIANS RALLY in Ramallah for Prisoners Day 370. (photo credit: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters)

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has turned down a request by Hamas legislators in the West Bank to visit “political” detainees held in Palestinian Authority prisons, Aziz Dweik, speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said on Monday.

Dweik, who is also a senior Hamas representative, said that he wrote to Abbas asking for permission to visit the detainees, most of whom are being held in Jericho Prison, to examine their living and health conditions.

“We didn’t receive permission,” Dweik said, referring to himself and other legislators. “As legislators, we have the right to visit political detainees and check human rights violations in Palestinian prisons.”

Hamas said the PA is holding dozens of its supporters in detention without trial.

Dweik said that the continued crackdown on “political” activists and the closure of [Hamas-affiliated] institutions in the West Bank hindered efforts to achieve reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

In a related development, the PA security forces detained two Hamas activists who had served time in Israeli prison. They were identified as Samer Shawwa, from Ramallah, and Abdel Rauf Ghneimat, from Surif, near Hebron.

Meanwhile, Palestinian human rights organizations called for an independent investigation into the death of a detainee in a Hamas prison in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

The man was identified as 50-year-old Sami Hamdan Kashta. He was detained on March 20 for unknown reasons.

Hamas sources said that Kashta apparently died of a heart attack.

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