Palestinian police officers in Gaza arrested Mohammed Fayez Abu Al-Atta, 31, on 20 January 2020. He was assaulted while in custody and was later admitted to Al-Shifa Hospital with fractures in lower extremities.
Few days before his arrest, Mohamed had been involved in a fight on Friday, 17 January 2020, with a person in Shujaiya neighborhood where Mohamed used a knife and injured the other person, who is believed to had been a plain-clothed police officer of the General Investigations Department. Later that day, at approximately 4:30pm, a police force arrived at Abu Al-Atta's residence, where they detained three of his brothers, his wife, and their two children. They were transferred to Shujaiya police station seemingly to pressure Mohammad to turn himself in. The police released some of Abu Al-Atta family members, including the children, on the evening of the same day, while the rest were released the next morning on 18 January 2020.
Information collected from the field and his family testimony indicate that Mohammed was arrested in Middle Gaza district on Monday, 20 January 2020, and was later transferred, at around 7pm, to Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City where doctors reported that he suffered multiple fractures in lower extremities. It is believed that while in custody of at Shujaiya police station in Gaza City, Mohamed was assaulted by police officers with batons.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights is deeply concerned over this brutal treatment of a civilian in custody of the police, and the use of members of his family as bargaining chips. Al Mezan believes that such behavior by police officers, entrusted with protecting and enforcing the law, would undermine the rule of law and increase cases of vigilantism, whereby people take the law into their own hands.
Al Mezan calls on the Public Prosecution to promptly investigate the entire incident, including the unlawful treatment of Abu Al-Atta family. Public Prosecution must bring to justice those who violated the law and due process, and take necessary measures to ensure that such abuses are not repeated.