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  • ACRI

Detaining Social Activists in Airports


Following a number of incidents in which activists were detained at the airport, ACRI together with other human rights and social change organizations appealed to the Attorney General. The detained activists work in legal organizations and activities, albeit with agendas that the government rejects.

In the appeal, Attorney Dan Yakir, ACRI’s Chief Legal Counsel, and Attorney Debbie Gild-Hayo, Director of Policy Advocacy, noted that, at the surface level, these detentions of civil society activists are without foundation and intended solely to threaten and deter future activism. The attorneys further explained that both the organizational activities and the activists themselves are protected by freedom of expression and association, which is not only one of the most fundamental Basic Rights but also are rights that ensure the establishment and protection of a democratic state and society. Lastly, they tied these incidents to broader phenomenon of the past few years, a context in which the state has methodically tried to harm civil society organizations and activists.

The organizations are asking the Attorney General to clarify to the relevant authorities that detaining activists in this manner is harmful and forbidden, and that if there is a basis for an investigation, authorities must act according to acceptable legal means.

On 31.7.2017, ACRI appealed to the State Attorney’s Department of the High Court of Justice about both previous and two new incidents of “warning conversations” that the Shin Bet internal security agency had with activists.

In 2013 ACRI had petitioned the High Court of Justice to rescind the Shin Bet's authority to hold warning conversations with political and social activists. While the court approved of the Shin Bet's authority to do so, it set out specific and obligatory rules of behavior.

The letter was sent in the name of the following organizations: ACRI, Amnesty Israel, Bimkom - Planners for Planning Rights, B’Tselem, Gisha- Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, The Committee Against Torture, HaMoked - Center for the Defence of the Individual, The Center for Refugees and Immigrants, Zazim, Yesh Din - Volunteers for Human Rights, Machsom Watch, The Akevot Institute, Sikkuy, Adalah- The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Ir Amim, Worker’s Hotline, Women’s Coalition for Peace, Physicians for Human Rights, and Rabbis for Human Rights.


Thanks, but no thanks - instructions for activists detained at borders or invited to a conversations with the Shin Bet.

Saul Roz David, Report: Illegal Detention of Activists at the Airport, The Social Television, 14.6.2018


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