At approximately 8am on Tuesday 19 April 2011, the family of Adel Salah Rezeq, 52, received a telephone call informing them of his death at a detention center. His dead body was transferred to the Shifa Hospital in Gaza city. Rezeq was admitted to Shifa Hospital in Gaza city at dawn on the same day.
According to information available to the undersigned organizations, Rezeq’s relatives reported that at approximately 8pm on Thursday 14 April 2011, a force from the internal security apparatus appeared at the house of Adel Rezeq and they orally ordered him to accompany the force. The force did not show Rezeq a summons from any judicial authority, as required by the law.
Rezeq’s relatives asserted that Rezeq enjoyed good health. He had worked as a private with the Palestinian Authority’s National Security apparatus since 2005. He was married and had eight children; of whom six are females (two of whom are minors).
The Ministry of Interior of the Government in Gaza (MoI) made a statement that was published on their website, which reads ‘[I]n the morning of Tuesday 19 April 2011, Adel Rezeq, 52, died inside a detention center of the internal security apparatus. He died after having suffered from illness on Monday. Adel Rezeq was transferred to the Shifa Hospital and received medical treatment there, but his health condition deteriorated and he died later. His dead body is now under forensic examination. In this regard, a formal investigation committee has been formed. All the concerned authorities, including the General Observer (of the MoI) and human rights organization were informed about this.’ (Unofficial translation).
The undersigned organizations assert that every death inside of the detention centers evoke suspicion that requires a prompt criminal investigation, which must include an examination of the arrest procedures, summons, and interrogations. Criminal investigation into the death of Adel Rezeq must therefore include the way he was arrested, detained, interrogated, treated inside the detention center, and whether he was subjected to torture or any form of cruel and/or ill-treatment.
The undersigned organizations view with great concern the information obtained by Rezeq’s relatives, which indicates that the way he was arrested in a manner that violates his right to due process. No arrest warrant had been obtained from the public prosecution, nor was the force that made the arrest among those authorized to make arrests by the Palestinian Criminal Procedure Law.
Moreover, preventing the victim’s lawyers and human rights organizations from examining, or attending the examination of the dead body evokes further concerns.
The undersigned organizations express their deep regret for the death of Adel Rezeq in circumstances that remain mysterious, and call for:
- Opening investigations into the reasons behind Rezeq’s death. According to article 16 of the Rehabilitation and Reform Centers Law of 1998, any death that occurs inside the prison obliges the prison’s manager or his deputy to inform the public prosecution. Therefore, the undersigned organizations point that initiating investigations into the death of Rezeq is a crucial and legal must; and
- Disclosure of the results of the investigations as soon as they are concluded, which must be within a reasonable time and in accordance with the standards of professional legal investigation.
The undersigned organizations assert the right of the family to bring an independent forensic expert to examine the body of the victim. This right is crucial for such examination to be transparent and impartial. The undersigned organizations are awaiting the forensic report to examine the reason behind Rezeq’s death and whether he was subjected to torture or ill-treatment.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
Al Dameer Association for Human Rights – Gaza