• thawra abukhdeir

Stop the Law on Overcrowded ISS Facilities from Bypassing the HCJ


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On June 13, 2017, the High Court of Justice issued a ruling regarding an ACRI petition, which stated that within 18 months the state must allocate each prisoner and detainee a minimal living space of 4.5 square meters (including toilets and showers). The state did not comply with the ruling and has already requested two extensions. The current date for the ruling’s implementation is December 31, 2022.

Furthermore, the state seeks to exclude the Israeli Security Agency’s interrogation facilities from the provisions for an additional three to seven years through the enactment of a temporary law for three years with the possibility of two two-year extensions. Prior to a discussion of the bill by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, we addressed the committee along with the Committee against Torture, Physicians for Human Rights, and HaMoked - the Center for the Defense of the Individual, calling upon it not to approve the bill.

The petition states that this is an unacceptable proposal for an unconstitutional path to bypass the High Court of Justice, seeking to allow for a disproportionate violation of basic rights and to discriminate against these detainees from among the other prisoners. Moreover, we claimed that proposing this complex and sensitive bill through such a rapid procedure is both illegal and undemocratic.

The court clarified that the ruling applies to all facilities in which prisoners are held, including Israeli Security Agency interrogation facilities. Due to the difficult prevailing conditions, we are of the opinion that these facilities should be granted precedence in an effort to ensure minimal living conditions. They are the most overcrowded facilities; are hidden from the public eye as even official auditors lack access to them; and the detainees held there are cut off from the outside world and often even from their lawyers.

"It’s hard to shake off a sense of feeling cramped due to the serious harm it causes, which is the aim," the petition reads, "meaning that this legislation intends to allow the Israel Security Agency to inflict suffering on detainees by permitting their imprisonment in inhumane conditions.” Under the guise of postponing a date for the implementation of constitutional case law, it rather seeks to be granted legal authorization for torture and interrogation through unacceptable means. As such, it is shameful and disgraceful, does not befit the values of any respectable society, its aim is reprehensible and grave harm is absolutely forbidden. "