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Al Mezan Condemns Banning of Gaza Citizens from Travel and Calls for Respect of Relevant Law

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25 March 2013 |Reference 23/2013

On 23 March 2013, the Gaza Internal Security Apparatus prevented Mr.
Ma’moun Swidan, Consultant in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Head of the Fatah’ International Relations Commission in the Gaza Strip, Mr.
Emad Shams and Miss Dema Al Ghoul, who are Fatah International Relations Committee staff members, from traveling via Rafah crossing.
The delegation was assigned by the Fatah Central Committee to travel to Belgium to conduct political meetings with relevant parties.
Upon arriving at the crossing, the delegation was taken into interrogation by the Apparatus and questioned on the reasons behind their travel.
They were then informed that they would not be allowed to proceed.
Several attempts were made during this time between Hamas and Fatah leaders to allow the delegation to travel.
But they were in vain.
There were other incidents in March involving the prevention of travel of Gaza citizens.
At approximately 8:30 am on Friday 22 March 2013, the Apparatus prevented Mrs.
Amal Hamad, a member of Fatah Central Committee, from traveling to Ramallah to attend the Fatah Central Committee meeting on in same day in Ramallah.
Hamad arrived at Erez crossing accompanied by Dr.
Zakaria Al-Agha, Hisham Abdel Razeq, and Dr.
Faisal Abu Shahla, who are members of Fatah Leadership Committee in the Gaza Strip; all were attending the same meeting.
The Apparatus allowed all of the delegation members to cross Erez terminal except Mrs.
Mrs Hamad, who was kept waiting for one hour and a half after the rest of the delegation was allowed to pass, was informed on the same day, at around 10am, that she would not be allowed to travel due to “political reasons”.
Hamad was previously prevented on several occasions by the Apparatus, for unknown reasons, from exiting Gaza.
In a similar incident on Thursday 21 March 2013, the Apparatus prevented Sami Attiya Abu Daher, 40, from traveling via Rafah crossing.
In his affidavit to Al Mezan, Sami Abu Daher stated that he arrived at the crossing around 10:30 am on Thursday 21 March 2013.
While he was in the waiting hall, a member of the security forces questioned him on the reasons behind his travel, to which Abu Daher stated he was going for follow-up on his medical treatment as he underwent a surgery on his eye; and to visit his relatives.
Around midday, a member of the security forces informed Abu Daher that he would not be allowed to travel.
He was given a summons to appear at the Apparatus office in Middle Gaza district.
Abu Daher is a former member of Fatah Provincial Committee and has been receiving medical treatment in Egypt.
The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemns travel bans placed on Gazan citizens and views these bans as a violation of the right to freedom of movement and travel.
They also violate Palestinian Basic Law, which ensures the right of every citizen to travel without any restrictions except in cases mentioned in Article 11 of the Law involving judicial orders.
Al Mezan calls on the Gaza Government to investigate incidents where citizens are prevented from traveling, to take the necessary measures to ensure effective implementation of the Law, and to prevent the violation of the right to freedom of movement and travel.