Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered the release of all Palestinians held by the PA security forces on account of their political affiliation or views.
Abbas also prohibited the prosecution or arrest of Palestinians for their opinions, political affiliation or factional background.
Abbas’s decision came in a “presidential decree” he issued as part of an effort to “promote public freedoms” ahead of the upcoming Palestinian general elections.
The decree came in the wake of allegations that the PA security forces were continuing to clamp down on Hamas supporters in the West Bank, notwithstanding upcoming scheduled elections.
Recently, Hamas officials said that some of their supporters were arrested or summoned for interrogation by the PA security forces.
In the decree, Abbas called for promoting “a climate of public freedoms in all the territories of the State of Palestine, including freedom of political and national action, in accordance with the provisions of the [Palestinian] Basic Law.”
The decree further calls for “providing complete freedom for launching election campaigns and rallies.”
Earlier this month, Abbas’s Fatah faction and Hamas agreed to release detainees held on political grounds in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and allow unrestricted campaigning.
The agreement was reached during a meeting of several Palestinian factions in Cairo under the auspices of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service.
The factions also agreed to create an encouraging “atmosphere of political freedom” for holding the elections.
After the agreement, Hamas released four Fatah activists from its prisons in the Gaza Strip.
Last month, Abbas announced that the parliamentary election will be held on May 22, presidential election on July 31, and the Palestinian National Council (the PLO’s legislative body) on August 31.