Mother blames Palestinian Authority for son's death
December 4, 1996
Web posted at: 8:30 p.m. EST (1330 GMT)
From Jerusalem Bureau Chief Walter Rodgers
In this story:
JERICHO, West Bank (CNN) -- "The (Palestinian) Authority
killed my son," cried a grieving mother as plainclothes
Palestinian police in Jericho, one of the West Bank's
self-ruled areas, tried to prevent reporters Wednesday from
witnessing her shouts of anguish and anger.
Rashid Fityani, 21, a Palestinian prisoner for the past two
years, was shot 13 times by a Palestinian prison guard on
Tuesday. He was the 10th Palestinian detainee killed by
Yasser Arafat's security forces since the start of self-rule
in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in May 1994.
A Palestinian security official said the shooting happened
during a fight that broke out while Fityani tried to break
out of a jail. Jibril Rajoub, Arafat's West Bank security
chief, said the guard had been arrested and would be charged.
Fityani was arrested January 17, 1995, along with six other
Palestinians on suspicion that they killed an activist of the
Muslim militant group Hamas in July 1994 in Aqabat Jaber, a
refugee camp near Jericho.
At his home, Fityani's mother, Suhaila, tried to talk to
reporters, but police put their hands in front of cameras and
blocked the small woman from stepping outside. Their
efforts, however, could not stifle her shouts.
"They held him two years without a trial," she screamed
through the doorway, her face barely visible before Arafat's plainclothes police pushed her back inside.
Reporters also said they were prevented by Palestinian police
from taking pictures of Fityani's body at Jericho Hospital on
Out of control?
Jibril Rajoub, Palestinian chief of preventive security on
the West Bank, would not discuss the killing on camera but
told CNN that Fityani was a criminal. He added, "It's a shame
he was shot."
The beating of prisoners is a routine occurrence, even for
people arrested on civil charges, Palestinian human rights
activist Bassam Eid told CNN. (111K/9 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
On Monday, Amnesty International said there has been a
worrisome increase in abuses by the Palestinian Authority.
The human rights group cited what it called brutal torture
and an atmosphere of fear.
Khader Shakirat, previously Fityani's lawyer, criticized the
Palestinian Authority for not providing protection for
prisoners. "This prisoner and others have been tortured,"
"There is a mentality that (Palestinian) security services
are beyond reproach," said Palestinian Council member Hanan
Ashrawi. The council is the Palestinian legislative body.
'Why was I arrested?'
On Tuesday, Red Cross officials who toured a prison in Gaza,
another Palestinian self-rule area, saw prisoners crammed 16
to a cell.
"Why was I arrested?" asked one man peering through prison
bars. "I have been here a year-and-a-half and have not been
Another prisoner said: "Some of us have been here more than
two years and God alone knows why." Another jailed
Palestinian pleaded for a trial so he can learn why he was
'We have lost our voice'
Palestinian police took over Jericho and the Gaza Strip in
May 1994 under an interim peace deal with Israel. After the
takeover, PLO police jailed without trial several
Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel.
Prisoners are routinely denied access to a lawyer, and family
members cannot see them. Part of the problem is there is no
legal tradition, no legal culture in Palestinian society. But
there are 10 different security agencies policing 2.5 million
When CNN asked one Palestinian man why the Palestinian people
no longer speak out against human-rights abuses, he replied,
"Because we have lost our voice."
Reuters contributed to this report.
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