Israeli police get right to hold Palestinian assailants’ bodies

Israeli border police can be seen in this file photo. (Reuters)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Israeli police get right to hold Palestinian assailants’ bodies

JERUSALEM: Israeli lawmakers have passed a controversial bill allowing police to hold the corpses of alleged Palestinian assailants indefinitely, parliament said on Thursday.
The act was passed late Wednesday by 48 votes to 10, a Knesset statement said, hours after another measure permitting the interior minister to strip Palestinians in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem of their permanent residency permits “if they are involved in terrorism.”
The government announced in 2016 that it would not release for burial the bodies of Palestinian assailants killed during attacks unless Palestinians in Gaza released the remains of two Israeli soldiers believed to have been killed in a 2014 war in Gaza.
In November 2017, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signalled that Israel would not repatriate the bodies of five militants killed when the army blew up a tunnel stretching from the Gaza Strip into its territory.
The Israeli Supreme Court ruled in December that the policy was illegal under current law, but it gave the government six months to enact new legislation.
The revised act gives authority to police district commanders “to set conditions for returning the body of a terrorist for family burial,” the Knesset statement said.
If the commander decides that a funeral may spark another attack or turn into a political rally in support of violence he can impose limits on the time, location and number of mourners and “a body could be held until the family agrees to the terms,” the statement adds.
The bill was sponsored by two MPs from Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and the religious-nationalist Jewish Home.
Arab MP Yousef Jabareen, of the opposition Joint List party, said it was “a delusional and draconian law of a delusional government.”
It applies only to Israel and east Jerusalem, where the police have authority, and not to the occupied West Bank, which is under army rule.
The legislation on revoking permanent residency permits, proposed by a Likud MP, passed by 48 votes to 18, the Knesset said.
Israel seized control of Arab east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war.
It later annexed the territory, in a move never recognized by the international community, and today it is home to about 300,000 Palestinians.
Although they have the right to apply for Israeli citizenship few take up the offer and of those many are refused, often on unspecified “security grounds.”
The vast majority opt for permanent residency status, which gives them free movement throughout Israel, access to health and welfare services and a vote in Jerusalem municipal elections.
They cannot vote in parliamentary elections and they do not hold Israeli passports.


Iran accuses rights lawyer of state security offenses: husband

Updated 23 June 2018
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Iran accuses rights lawyer of state security offenses: husband

  • Award-winning Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh faces prosecution on state security charges following her arrest in the capital last week, her husband said
  • Sotoudeh, who is one of the few outspoken advocates for human rights in Iran, was detained in her Tehran home on June 13

TEHRAN: Award-winning Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh faces prosecution on state security charges following her arrest in the capital last week, her husband said on Saturday.
Sotoudeh, 55, denies the charges but remains in the women’s wing of Tehran’s notorious Evin prison after refusing to post bail of $95,000 (more than 80,000 euros), Reza Khandan told the ISNA news agency.
“My wife is accused of conspiracy, assembly and propaganda against the system” of rule of the Islamic republic, Khandan said.
“My wife considers the accusations against her to be baseless and made up, and the bail demand to be disproportionate,” he added.
Sotoudeh, who is one of the few outspoken advocates for human rights in Iran, was detained in her Tehran home on June 13.
Her arrest has been condemned by the US State Department and human rights group Amnesty International, which both called for her immediate release.
Earlier this year, Sotoudeh represented several women arrested for protesting against the mandatory wearing of headscarves in Iran.
Tehran police said in February that 29 women had been detained for posing in public without their headscarves.
Sotoudeh won the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov rights award in 2012 for her work on high-profile human rights and political cases, including those on death row for offenses committed as minors.
She spent three years in prison between 2010 and 2013 for “actions against national security” and spreading “propaganda against the system” and remains banned from representing political cases or leaving Iran until 2022.
Sotoudeh has defended journalists and activists including Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi and several dissidents arrested during mass protests in 2009 against the disputed re-election of hard-line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
She had recently spoken out against a new criminal code that allowed only a small number of lawyers — just 20 in Tehran — to represent individuals charged with state security offenses.
During her previous spell in Evin, Sotoudeh staged two hunger strikes in protest at the conditions and over a ban on seeing her son and daughter.
She was released in September 2013 shortly before Iran’s then newly elected President Hassan Rouhani, who had campaigned on a pledge to improve civil rights, attended the UN General Assembly.