Yesterday, 11 December 2009, the Middle East Monitor (MEMO) published an exclusive interview with a 30 year old man in the West Bank who recounted his horrific experience of being unjustly detained, brutally interrogated and abused for days by the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces.
MEMO point out that “This story raises more disturbing questions about EU and British support, tacit or otherwise, for the actions of the Ramallah authority.” MEMO approached the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) yesterday for a response to our report and this is the statement we received.
“The implication in MEMO’s report that the UK casts a blind eye to abuses by Palestinian security forces is wholly incorrect. This is an issue we take very seriously and have raised regularly with the Palestinian Authority, as well as highlighting in our annual human rights report. Our most recent report condemned “cases of politically motivated detention” by the PA, and “credible reports of mistreatment of prisoners”. A case which we raised specifically was the death in a PA detention centre of the Imam, Majd al-Barghouthi, noting that “it is probable that he was beaten and tortured”.
“Regarding EU support for Palestinian security services; it is precisely to ensure that such practices become a thing of the past that make it so important that there be training and mentoring available for Palestinian security forces. Much of this training is designed specifically to promote the culture of abidance by international human rights standards. A strong and viable Palestinian state requires capable and efficient authorities working for the good of Palestinian civilians and we are committed to assisting towards that goal.”
MEMO welcomes the FCO’s reiteration of the seriousness with which they view the culture of such abuse of prevailing in the West Bank.