Hamas: PA violating detainees' human rights

Hamas preacher dies in PA lockup; family alleges he was tortured; Hamas in Gaza says PA "criminal."

Abbas 248.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Abbas 248.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Hamas and human rights organizations have called for an investigation into the death of Sheikh Majd Barghouti, the imam of a mosque from the village of Kobar in the West Bank, who allegedly died after being severely tortured by Palestinian Authority security agents in Ramallah. Barghouti, 45, was arrested two weeks ago by members of the PA's General Intelligence Force. Eyewitnesses said he was snatched as he exited his mosque, where he had served as an imam for 20 years. Attempts by relatives and friends to prevent the arrest failed as the PA security officers threatened to open fire at them. Barghouti was arrested in the context of an ongoing crackdown by the PA security forces against Hamas figures and supporters in the West Bank during which hundreds of Palestinians have been rounded up. A senior PA security official said Barghouti was arrested on suspicion of membership in Hamas and "incitement" against the PA leadership. Last week Barghouti was rushed to a hospital in Ramallah after suffering a severe hemorrhage in the head. His family quoted doctors as saying that Barghouti had been brutally tortured while in detention. However, Tawfik Tirawi, commander of the General Intelligence Force in the West Bank, insisted that Barghouti died of a heart attack. He strongly denied the charges that his men had tortured him to death. The Palestinian human rights organization Addameer expressed deep concern over the death of Barghouti, holding the PA fully responsible. The organization said Barghouti had been denied medical treatment while in detention despite his failing health. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum accused PA President Mahmoud Abbas of carrying out "factional cleansing" against Hamas and other Palestinian groups. Many Hamas supporters who had been arrested by Abbas's security forces were subjected to "brutal methods of torture," he said, adding that the clampdown on Hamas was aimed at appeasing the US and Israel.