PHROC Stands in Solidarity with the Manasrah Family for Refusing to Receive their Son's Frozen Body

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23 March 2016

The Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PHROC) supports the decision taken by the family of 15-year-old Hassan Khaled Manasrah, from occupied Jerusalem, to not receive his body which was in a humiliating and degrading state. PHROC also denounces Israel's continued policy of withholding 14 Palestinian bodies and setting degrading conditions and terms for their burial.

Hassan was killed by the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) on 12 October 2015 while with his cousin, Ahmad Manasrah, in the "Pisgat Ze'ev" settlement in Beit Hanina, North Jerusalem. Since then, Israel withheld Hassan's body and detained Ahmad. Deplorable footage has been released showing Ahmad in hospital and another of him subject to harsh interrogation.

The Israeli authorities placed various conditions on the families of HassanManasrah and 21-year-old Omar Yasser Iskafi, also from Jerusalem, in order to release their bodies. The terms were as follows: the bodies would be released on 22 March 2016 as long as each family deposits 20,000 shekels to guarantee that no more than 30 people participate in each funeral and that they be buried immediately. That day at approximately 1:00 am, the Israeli authorities deployed its forces and set up barriers around Bab Al-Asbat (Lion's Gate) in order to deliver the bodies. Hassan's family were shocked to see their son completely frozen. They could not identify him, hold him, or have a proper final goodbye. Meanwhile the Iskafi family buried Omar that night.

It is important to note that 14 Palestinian bodies remain in Israeli custody, including three children and one woman. All of them were individuals were from Jerusalem. The longest, Tha'er Abu Ghazaleh, has been  held since 8 October 2015. Countless bodies remain in the 'cemeteries of numbers';,while some have been there for decades, another 19 bodies were placed there following the 2014 attacks on the Gaza Strip.

The practice of withholding the bodies of the deceased amounts to collective punishment against Palestinians. It also obstructs autopsies from being carried out, potentially concealing evidence of extrajudicial killing.

In light of this, PHROC calls on:

1.    Israeli authorities to :

a.    Release all Palestinian bodies held,without prior conditions, so that their families can bury them in dignity. The practice of withholding bodies is illegal. Therefore, the release of the bodies should not be negotiated and rather delivered without imposed conditions or terms.

b.    Carry out prompt, impartial, independent, effective, and transparent investigations into the killing of Palestinians and ensure accountability for all perpetrators involved.

2.    Palestinian officials to organise a local committee of physicians, including international experts, to observe the autopsy process of all bodies and investigate the real reasons behind the death.

3.    The International Red Cross to issue a statement prohibiting the practice of withholding bodies as it contravenes international humanitarian law.

 

- ENDS -

 

 

Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council 

Adameer

Addameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association
Sahar Francis
General Director

aaldameer

 

Aldameer Association for Human Rights
SamerMousa

Al-Haq-Small

Al-Haq
ShawanJabarin
General Director

Mezan

 

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
IssamYounis
General Director

Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
NidalAzza
General Director

DCI

 

Defence for Children International
Palestine Section
Khaled Kuzmar
General Director

Ensan

Ensan Center for Human Rights and Democracy
HasiebNashashibi
General Director

Hurryyat

 

Hurryyat - Centre for Defense of Liberties and Civil Rights
Helmi Al-araj
General Director

JLAC

Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid and Human Rights
IssamAruri
General Director

PCHRS

 

Ramallah Center for Human Rights Studies
Suhaib Sharif
General Director

Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling
RandaSanyora
General Director

pchr-gaza-logo

 

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights
RajiSourani - General Director