PCHR Strongly Condemns Summoning 2 University Professors in Gaza

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PNN

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns summoning Dr. Hassan Abu Jarad and Dr. Ahmed Dahlam, professors at al-Azhar University in Gaza, by the police investigation bureau, allegedly for criticizing the government in Gaza.

PCHR stressed in a press release Wednesday that this measure constitutes a violation of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and academic freedoms which are ensured under the Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights standards. PCHR calls upon the government in Gaza to take serious steps to prevent security services' intervention into such freedoms.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 10:00 on Monday, 09 September 2013, Dr. Hassan Ali Abu Jarad, 58, from the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, headed to the police investigation bureau's station in Beit Lahia as he had already been summoned. Dr. Abu Jarad stated to PCHR that he was taken into an interrogation room, where he was informed by an officer that he was summoned because he criticized Hamas and the government in Gaza. Dr. Abu Jarad added that he asked the officer to say what he was considering as criticism, especially as he believes that any government does right and wrong things, so it may be criticized. Dr. Abu Jarad was forced under the threat of detention to sign an oath to abstain from criticizing Hamas or the government. He was released at approximately 11:00 on the same day.

In the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis, on Thursday, 05 September 2013, the police investigation bureau summoned Dr. Ahmed Sa'id Dahlan, 57. Dr. Dahlan stated to PCHR that at approximately 09:00 on Thursday, he headed to the police investigation bureau's station in Khan Yunis. He was immediately taken into an interrogation room. Dr. Dhalan stated that he was questioned by an officer about claims that he insulted Muslims and acted against the government in Gaza. He added that he asked the officer to provide evidence to such accusations or bring a witness to support such claims. Dr. Dahlan stated that he refused to sign an oath to refrain from spreading rumors or acts of defamation. He was released at approximately 11:00 on the same day.

In this context, PCHR emphasizes the following:

- The right to freedom of opinion and expression is ensured under Article 19 of the Palestinian Basic Law and according to relevant international human rights standards.

- The independence and freedom of universities, higher institutes and research centers are ensured under Article 24-b of the Palestinian Basic Law.

- PCHR fully supports academic freedoms, including encouraging thinking and critical teaching methods and abstaining from imposing any control on them as they are part of teaching methods and developing the skills of students.

Accordingly, PCHR Calls upon the government in Gaza to take strict measures to prevent security services' intervention into academic freedoms and the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

It also Calls upon security services to respect the right to freedom of opinion and expression and academic freedoms which are ensured under the Palestinian basic law and according to relevant international human rights standards.

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