Press Release

12 May 2011

Adalah and Nadi al-Aseer Demand an End to the Detention of Palestinian Detainees in Shabak Facilities Due to Inhuman and Degrading Conditions

On 11 May 2011, Adalah and Nadi al-Aseer (the Palestinian Prisoners' Club) sent a pre-petition to the Israeli Attorney General, the Minister of Internal Security and the Head of the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) to demand an end to the detention of detainees in the Ashqelon, Jalameh, Petakh-Tikva and Moscobiya facilities run by the Israel Security Agency (ISA, or the Shabak), because of the inhuman and degrading conditions to which detainees are subjected in them. Overwhelmingly, it is Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and Palestinian citizens of Israel who are detained and interrogated in these facilities. The pre-petition was sent by Attorney Abeer Baker.

The pre-petition followed a previous request by Adalah and Nadi al-Aseer for the improvement of conditions in which Palestinian detainees and held and those of other detainees in detention cells. Israeli law distinguishes between the detention conditions of political detainees, classified as “security detainees” and detainees held on criminal charges. Testimonies provided by Palestinian detainees to Nadi al-Aseer have exposed the inhuman and degrading conditions in which they are held in a systematic manner in order to put pressure on them, force them to cooperate with their interrogators and to extract confessions from them, which they give in order to secure their release from the ISA's detention cells.

The same methods of interrogation are employed in all the ISA's detention facilities. After being interrogated for hour after exhausting hour, the detainees are placed in narrow, dark and filthy isolation cells without windows or air vents to allow daylight or fresh air to enter. They are also not given mattresses that are suitable to sleep on or basic hygienic supplies and are unable to keep themselves clean. They are also subjected to sleep deprivation. In addition, the suspects are held in total isolation for hours and days on end without being allowed any contact with their families or lawyer.

The consistent use of these methods indicates that the inhuman and degrading conditions of ISA detention cells are deliberate and part of the interrogation process. They are all designed to weaken the detainee's body and morale. In the pre-petition, Adalah and Nadi al-Aseer argued that these methods are also used against juveniles suspected of committing security offenses, who are exposed to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment along with adults. Such practices stand in violation of international standards of human rights that protect children from arbitrary detention.

Adalah and Nadi al-Aseer further argued that the inhuman and degrading conditions in ISA interrogation cells reflects the absolute impunity that the ISA enjoys, and which exempts it from opening its cells to external inspection and supervision, contrary to the practice in other interrogation facilities. Therefore the two organizations demanded that the ISA's detention facilities should also be subject to external inspection and supervision, particularly given the increased likelihood of detainees being exposed to torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

In the pre-petition, Adalah and Nadi al-Aseer relied on the text of the UN Convention Against Torture, which prohibits the ill-treatment of prisoners through exerting psychological and/or physical pressure on them in order to extract confessions, arguing that doing so violates their rights to dignity and bodily integrity.

The Pre-Petition (Hebrew)


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