Hamas: 357 activists arrested by PA forces since January
Published Wednesday 16/04/2014 (updated) 18/04/2014 12:02
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A new report released Wednesday by the Gaza Strip ministry of planning says that Palestinian Authority security forces arrested 357 members of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian political parties across the West Bank in the first quarter of 2014.
Released by the Hamas-ruled government in the Gaza Strip, the report accused the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in control of the West Bank of a wide-reaching crackdown on dissenting political parties in the last few months.
The information center of the ministry of planning said in the report that 91 Hamas and Islamic Jihad members, 194 members of others political factions, 30 freed prisoners, and 42 university students had been arrested by security forces since the beginning of 2014.
Of those arrests, the report claimed that 231 were made in March alone.
The report added that 110 people affiliated with various political factions were also called in for questioning, while security forces raided 60 homes, including 42 in March.
The report alleged that many of those detained were tortured during their detentions.
The claims come after a long hoped for rapprochement in relations between the two main Palestinian factions turned sour in recent months, as a string of moves in December and January designed to end the long-standing division failed to achieve any noticeable results.
The report's allegations of a widespread political crackdown in the West Bank suggest that the US-trained and -funded PA security forces have stepped up efforts to stifle dissent in the occupied territory.
Amnesty International's 2013 report on the region, however, said that both PA and Hamas security forces had engaged in such practices.
"Arbitrary arrests and detentions by both the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and the Hamas de facto administration in the Gaza Strip continued, particularly of their respective political opponents," the international human rights group said.
"In both areas, security forces tortured and otherwise ill-treated detainees with impunity," it added.