Palestine : group of human rights defenders’ right to life violated by Israel's army

On 5 June 2010, the Israeli army attacked the ‘Freedom Flotilla' which was heading to Gaza with the aim of providing humanitarian aide to the population, which has suffered from the Israeli blockade since 2007. Nine people were killed and dozens injured in the military attack which was supported by war ships and combat helicopters.

On 25 June 2010, Alkarama submitted a communication to the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions and the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, as well as the Special Rapporteur on Palestine. This communication requested the opening of an international inquiry to establish what happened, which could lead to sanctions.
On 5 June 2010, when a boat from the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza was attacked by the Israeli Army in international waters, the Israeli army extra-judicially executed 9 people.
 
They are :
1. Ibrahim Bilgen, aged 61, electrical engineer from Siirt, Turkey, father of 6 children.
2. Ali Haydar Bengi, aged 39, living in Diyardbakir, Turkey, a graduate of Al-Azhar University's department of Arab literature, father of 4 children.
3. Cevdet Kiliçlar, aged 38, journalist at Kayseri, Turkey, father of 2 children.
4. Cetin Topcuoglu, aged 54, living in Adana, Turkey, trainer for the National Turkish Taekwando team, father of 1 child.
5. Necdet Yildirim, aged 32 of Malatya, Turkey, father of a three-year old daughter.
6. Fahri Yaldiz, aged 43, firefighter and employee of the municipality of Adiyaman, Turkey, father of 4 children.
7. Cengiz Songür, aged 47, living in Izmir, Turkey, and father of 7 children.
8. Cengiz Akyüz, aged 41, living in Iskenderun, Turkey, father of 3 children.
9. Furkan Dogan, aged 19, student at the high school of Kayseri, and son of Dr Ahmet Dogan, an Associate Professer of Erciyes University, American and Turkish national.
 
The Flotilla, which was flying Turkish and American flags, was heading to the Gaza Strip. However, the ships were in international waters when the Israelis attacked. According to various sources, Israeli special forces raided the boat by climbing aboard before opening fire on unarmed persons, according to consistent eyewitness accounts.
 
In this regard, Madame Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that she "unequivocally condemn[ed] what appears to be disproportionate use of force, resulting in the killing and wounding of so many people attempting to bring much-needed aid to the people of Gaza, who have now been enduring a blockade for more than three years."

The arbitrary killing of these people by Israeli military, who used their weapons with the obvious intention of killing peaceful militant who did not present a danger to the security of the soldiers is without doubt a violation of the right to life guaranteed in article 6 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Israel is party.
The facts of the case clearly call to the opening of an international and independent inquiry on the violation of the right to life of those named above. Such an inquiry should identify of those responsible, as well as those who ordered this international crime and bring them to trial and to find them guilty if this is the case. The inquiry should also take effective measures to prevent such violations happening again in the future.

There is a trend for the Israeli authorities' use of extrajudicial executions to perpetuate, particularly due to the total impunity that is assured for those responsible for these crimes, as well as those commanding these operations.

Israel has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumain and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Israel also ratified the 1949 Geneva Conventions on 6 July 1951.
For more information or an interview, please contact media@alkarama.org (Dir: +41 22 734 1008).

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