Inhumane Treatment of Palestinian Detainees at Ansar III Detention Center.

HCJ 5591/02, Adalah et al v. Yuni Ben David, Military Commander of Ansar III et al

The petition was filed in June 2002 on behalf of seven Palestinian detainees and ten Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations challenging the inhumane detention conditions of approximately 500 Palestinian detainees held at Ansar III Detention Center. Petitioners demanded that the Supreme Court intervene and order the Military Commander of Ansar III and the Minister of Defense to improve the conditions in the facility.

Conditions in Ansar III failed to meet even minimum standards for detention under both Israeli and international law. The ten named NGO petitioners are: Adalah, LAW, HaMoked, B'Tselem, Addameer, Al Haq, Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counseling, Nadi el-Asseer, PCATI, and PHR-I. Detainees are held in tents open on all four sides, affording them no protection from the elements; they are not given proper beds; they are not provided with sufficient amounts of cold water and hot food; and they are denied sufficient supplies and facilities to maintain basic hygiene.

The state responded to the petition in September 2002 claiming that it should be dismissed on the grounds that the conditions at the detention center were not unreasonable, and in fact, were similar to that of soldiers; and that while some improvements could be made, the matter was one of resources.

The petition was dismissed in December 2002. The Supreme Court requested that the army improve certain conditions at Ansar III. At this time, the number of Palestinian detainees held at the facility had increased to 1,050. The Court noted that many of the individuals held at Ansar III are administrative detainees, and as such, should be held under conditions no worse than those afforded to other prisoners. The Court found that while initially the conditions at Ansar III were sub-standard, they had since been upgraded to meet or exceed these requirements.

The Court also suggested that:
(i) an administrative body should be established to deal with the detainees' day-to-day problems (e.g., food, clothes, etc.); and/or
(ii) responsibility for the facility should be transferred from the army to the Prison Authority, which is more experienced in balancing questions of security and prisoners' needs.

H.C. 5591/02, Adalah et al v. Yuni Ben David, Military Commander of Ansar III et al

News Updates:

2 May 2002: Adalah files pre-petition
28 June 2002: Adalah files petition on behalf of 7 detainees and 10 human rights groups
16 October 2002: Supreme Court holds first hearing in case
24 December 2002: Supreme Court dismisses petition

Related Documents:

Summary of the Supreme Court Decision (English)
Supreme Court Decision (Hebrew)

Related Cases:

HCJ 3278/02 Hamoked v. The Commander of the Israeli Army in the West Bank