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Palestinian Authority Prisoner Tortured Until He Loses Ability to Speak; Journalists in PA Crosshairs, too

A Palestinian man tortured by Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces has lost the ability to speak, a Ramallah-based human-rights group has revealed.

The Independent Commission for Human Rights documented 28 cases of torture in PA prisons in the West Bank last month alone. One prisoner, Mohamed Abdel Karim Dar of Hebron, was tortured while held in solitary confinement:

Dar had been detained by agents belonging to the PA’s Preventive Security Service and held in solitary confinement, the document said. “He lost the ability to speak and suffered from wounds to his body as a result of banging his head against the wall and tying his hands while being held in solitary condiment,” the report added. A representative of the Independent Commission for Human Rights who visited the detainee in the hospital discovered that he had lost the ability to speak.

The ICHR subsequently filed a complaint with the PA’s Interior Ministry.

Meanwhile, the PA continues to crack down on press freedoms.

Khaled Abu Toameh of the Jerusalem Post recently reported on the PA’s detention and mistreatment of journalists.

PA officials continue to arrest journalists. The West Bank government has blocked several websites critical of its governance in the area. 26-year-old journalist Anas Awwad was jailed and then pardoned over a Facebook post that poked fun at PA head Mahmoud Abbas.

In a New York Times op-ed earlier this year, David Keyes of the New York-based NGO Advancing Human Rights blasted Abbas:

So long as Mr. Abbas says he is committed to peace, there appears to be little pressure from the West on issues of human rights. Human rights for Palestinians, it seems, continue to play second fiddle to the peace process.

A good indicator of how committed a government is to upholding peace with its neighbors is its commitment to protecting the human rights of its own citizens. Nations that disregard the freedoms of their own people are not likely to care much about maintaining peace with their historic enemies. Palestinian human rights, in other words, are key to the peace process… Human rights, too often seen as a diversion from the peace process, are in fact the secret to it.