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The Faculty of Law organized a workshop titled ‘Should We Continue to Imprison those who ‎are in Debt?’ This workshops aimed at discussing the current law in Palestine that allows for ‎the law enforcement to imprison those who owe money and have failed to pay off their ‎debts in order to explore alternative ways solutions to this issue that are more compatible ‎with the current legal and political contexts within Palestine. The workshop brought legal ‎experts and relevant stakeholders to discuss the legal implications and repercussions of this ‎proposed legal amendment, given the controversy of this subject within the judicial circles ‎in Palestine and worldwide.‎

The Dean of the Faculty of Law, Dr. Na’em Salameh, opened the workshop and praised the ‎importance of increasing awareness of Palestinian legal developments, particularly on this ‎topic. Dr. Salameh commentated that he expected to bring alternative opinions and ‎recommendations that align with the national economic and social contexts.‎

Dr. Ammar Dweik, the Director General of the Independent Commission for Human Rights ‎who has a wealth of knowledge on Palestine law and public policy, highlighted the ‎importance of dialogue and critical re-examination of this law in order to provide solutions ‎that maintain social and legal responsibility of the debtors and that are also compatible with ‎international standards on the issue.  Dr. Dweik also noted that it is critical to incorporate ‎the participation of the banking sector, the Palestine Monetary Authority, merchants, as ‎well as the legal sector in these discussions since they are all important stakeholders.   ‎

This workshop occurred at a time when increasing numbers of people are unable to pay ‎their financial obligations.  Currently, an estimated 1200 people are being detained by ‎Palestinian police, including 150 females. Dr. Dweik added that 60% of the debtors are ‎detained for the second or third times consecutively. These figures demonstrate the ‎inefficiency of the debtors’ imprisonment penalty according to Dr. Dweik. ‎

Yousef Abed-Samad, the Legal Consultant of the Ministry of Justice, discussed the newly ‎approved legal agreements including defaulting debtors and the proposed amendments will ‎also preserve the rights of the creditors. ‎

Yazid Makhlouf, the Deputy Director of the Bar Association, discussed ‎the possible risks of this proposed legal amendment. Such risks include the possibility of ‎jeopardizing social security as well as the lack of protections for creditors due to the Israeli ‎occupation. Mr. Makhlouf also explained that the Palestinian law enforcement faces many ‎challenges in investigations of the people who are in debt. Mr. Makhlouf concluded by ‎stating the necessity of brining relevant stakeholders into the decision making process and ‎thoroughly examining and researching the proposed legal amendments before making final ‎legal decisions. ‎

This workshop was attended by different civil society organizations including the Palestinian ‎police, the Chamber of Commerce, the Palestinian Judiciary, as well as lecturers and ‎students from the Faculty of Law.  ‎

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