PPSWU calls for abolition of the Electronic Crimes Law

Press release

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PPSWU calls for abolition of the Electronic Crimes Law adopted by the Palestinian Authority in July 2017

Our message may be late but the multiple violation of freedom of expression as well attacks on human rights defenders and lawyers has prompted us to draw your attention to the fact that the new Palestinian Electronic Crimes Law violates the rights guaranteed by the Palestinian basic law (our constitution), as well as international human rights conventions.

The law has been widely denounced by Palestinian human rights organizations and civil society at large, and the matter has also been highlighted in a press release and statement issued recently by Amnesty International about an “alarming attack on freedom of expression” in Palestine.

The Palestinian Authority has already used the dispositions of this law against journalists, bloggers/activists on social media, and others. On 26/09/2017, the Palestinian security service summoned the president of the Palestinian Postal Service Workers’ Union (PPSWU), Imad Temeiza, and interrogated him about posts he had published on Facebook. They made him sign a document in which he pledges to delete these posts although their content could not, in any way whatsoever, be construed as defamatory or harmful to any public official. He was also informed that he will remain under surveillance and that he may be summoned again and charges may be brought against him at any time.

It seems that there is a policy aiming at shrinking the space available for activists to freely express their opinions in Palestine and that we are facing a new policy aiming at severely restricting fundamental rights and liberties. The impact of the Electronic Crimes Law on the exercise of fundamental freedoms is particularly worrying considering that social media has become a major channel for Palestinians to receive, impart and share information and opinions.

Palestinian civil society and unions have launched a campaign to obtain the cancellation of the Electronic Crimes Law, and PPSWU would like to ask its friends worldwide to address letters to the President of the State of Palestine expressing their concern over the content of the Electronic Crimes Law and supporting Palestinian civil society demands for its cancellation in view of its clear violations of human rights conventions.

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Imad Temeiza is a youth activist and has won the Outstanding Palestinian Volunteer award in 2013. Imad is Member of the Palestinian National Committee for the boycott BNC. He has been elected as president of the Palestinian Postal Service Workers’ Union for several mandates, including at the last union elections in May 2016. He is also the secretary of the Communications Workers’ Union – Palestine. He is a former member of the secretariat of the General Federation of Independent Trade Unions – Palestine and former head of its youth department. Imad has achieved many successes with his fellow unionists in advancing the rights of Palestinian postal workers and hopes to be able to continue to serve them to the best of his ability.

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