Six-Month Foreign Travel Ban Imposed on Sheikh Ra'ed Salah is Unconstitutional.

HCJ 4706/02, Sheikh Ra'ed Salah, et. al. v. the Minister of Interior

Sheikh Ra’ed Salah is the Head of the Islamic Movement in Israel. In 2/02, the Minister of Interior imposed a six-month foreign travel ban on Sheikh Ra’ed Salah pursuant to his powers under the Emergency Regulations (Foreign Travel) (1948). According to the Minister, Sheikh Ra'ed Salah's travel allegedly constituted a threat to state security. In 6/02, Adalah and Al Mezzan Center for Human Rights filed a petition on behalf of Sheikh Ra’ed Salah asking the Supreme Court to declare the Minister’s restriction order unconstitutional and void. The order was based solely on secret evidence, and there was no opportunity to challenge the order or the Minister's claims prior to its issuance. Petitioners' argued that the restriction order violates Sheikh Ra'ed Salah's right to due process, and his rights to freedom of movement and freedom of religion, as it prevented his travel to Qatar as well as his travel to Mecca for al-Umra pilgrimage. The petition also argued that the restriction order is overbroad, unreasonable, and fails to satisfy the proportionality test.

Result: The Supreme Court dismissed the petition in 7/02. The Court ruled that the restriction order is not among the gravest of infringements on liberty or movement, nor is the six-month time period impossible to withstand. The Court state that preventing travel for religious pilgrimage is a grave violation of freedom of religion; however, the Court also held that this pilgrimage could be performed following the expiration of the travel restriction order. The Court also stated that it was convinced, based on secret evidence presented by the General Security Service and the Ministry of Interior, that Sheikh Ra'ed Salah could "gravely endanger" the security of the state if permitted to leave the country. The Court applied the "frank and earnest fear" test, despite the increased importance assigned to an individual's right of freedom of movement by the passage of the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty (1992). The six-month travel restriction ban was renewed repeatedly, until Sheikh Ra’ed Salah was detained in 5/03.

 For more information, please see out Special Webreport on the Travel Ban

(H.C. 4706/02, Sheikh Ra'ed Salah, et. al. v. the Minister of Interior, decision delivered on 17 July 2002).

 The Supreme Court decision in English translation.