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PCHR call

96 hours for Torture

mercredi 12 octobre 2005

Israel ’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation decided on Sunday to toughen conditions for non-Israeli nationals to allow them to be held for 96 hours without access to a Judge.

The new security measures are being requested by Israeli security services, Shin Bet, for those held on what Israel claims are « security » offences. The Israeli plan will allow the security services, who have a long standing record of state-sanctioned torture, to hold suspects for 96 hours before appearing before a Court, a change from the current 24 hours. The Bill also proposes to stop suspects from seeing legal representatives for 50 days, as opposed to the current 21 days. [1]

The reason for the introduction of this new measure is because of the decision by Israel to revoke its military orders in respect of the Gaza Strip.[2] Accordingly, as Israeli military law is no longer being applied in Gaza, the Israeli security services are keen to tighten the laws which apply to non-nationals. However, Palestinians from the West Bank will still be subject to Israel’s military orders. Given that the occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is continuing the Fourth Geneva Convention remains the primary legal document governing these areas.

PCHR is particularly concerned at these measures which will negatively affect Palestinians arrested or detained by Israeli occupation authorities. In the past PCHR has tried to actively legally intervene at an early stage after the arrest or detention of a Palestinian in order to try to prevent torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

The Bill also provides provisions which will allow a Judge to extend the period of detention of a suspect without that suspect even appearing in front of a Court, or that Judge.

Throughout the history of Israel’s 38 year occupation of Palestine the Political, Judicial and Military establishment has conspired to facilitate the use of methodology which breaches international standards on the treatment of prisoners. This Bill will further facilitate efforts by the Israeli security services.

The decision by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation is an indication that Israel intends to implement this Bill and, in so doing, continue to further impose legal discrimination against Palestinian civilians.

PCHR calls upon :
the International Community, in particular the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the International Committee of the Red Cross, to immediately intervene at the highest levels of the Israeli state to prevent this bill becoming a law
Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights organisations to initiate a comprehensive, united, campaign against this Bill.

[1] Law Regulating Criminal Procedures (Authorities of Implementation and Regulation Related to Security Offences by Non-Citizens)
[2] For further information about this decision please also see PCHR’s Press Release 111/2005.