I got hold of some preliminary statistics for 1996 dealing with detention of Birzeit students (and one staff member) under the Palestinian Authority, from the Birzeit University Human Rights Action Project.
We all like statistics as they make things clear, but intrinsicly, if we have looked into how they can be used, we distrust them. Sometimes however, statistics can be so simple that they make the message crystal clear. So here are some simple and clear statistics from a well researched source:
|Agency detained by||Number of students||No. of cases arrest warrent obtained||Average detention time||Percent abused in detention|
|Intellegence ("Mukhabarat")||17||none||7 months
and 6 days
|Preventative Security ("Amin al-Waqai'i")||11||none||3 weeks
and 4 days
|Both Intellegence and Preventative Security||1||none||n/a*||n/a*|
and 3 days
The longest single period of detention was 318 days, that of Mustapha Atari, one of the detainees of the March 1996 round up. He was released in January, during Ramadan. He was never interrogated or charged.
Five of the detainees above were detained for periods of more than 250 days. As is clear from the table, no arrest warrents were used in any of the cases. The term "abuse", as used in the table above, means severe beating, although some of the detainees were hooded, subject to position abuse, made to stand outside in the winter nights for days on end, beaten with thick electric cables and combinations of the above.
Members of the Palestinian Authority continue to deny that abuse and torture take place in prisons. Be sure to tell all your friends.