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Holding conditions in temporary detention facilities: HCJ petition 9169/07
9169/07 | documents: 1  |  Updates: 3 In October 2007, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice on behalf of 16 detainees who were being held at temporary military detention facilities for over 21 days, i.e., past the stipulated time limit for holding in temporary facilities. The two facilities, located inside military bases in the West Bank, are intended for holding security detainees shortly after their arrest until they are transferred to regulated prisons.

Attached to the petition were affidavits by the detainees, indicating that the detainees were being held under conditions of excessive overcrowding, inadequate sanitation, and meager supplies of food, accompanied by derogatory treatment by the soldiers. All these constituted violations of human dignity. The petition asserted that given the harsh holding conditions and the violation of the detainees' rights and dignity, at the very least, they should not be kept in these facilities longer than a few days. Soon after the petition was filed, it was revealed that in both facilities the number of detainees exceeded the stipulated capacity.

The unacceptable conditions in these facilities were known long before the petition was filed. An advisory committee to the Chief of General Staff, established in 2003 following a previous petition by HaMoked, which examined the holding conditions in the five temporary detention facilities operating at the time, concluded that in all five facilities, detainees were held for periods far exceeding the stipulated period, and that "the overcrowding and detention periods result in intolerable living conditions".

In its response to the current petition, the State Attorney's Office accepted HaMoked's claim that the temporary detention facilities were overcrowded and conceded that the periods of detention therein should be shortened, moreover, it stated that the arrangement between the military and the Israel Prison Service (IPS) required that the detainees be transferred from the temporary military facilities to the permanent IPS facilities within eight days at most. In practice, however, it was revealed that military personnel were instructed to keep detainees in these facilities for periods of up to 21 days. In the following months, HaMoked's daily inquiries showed that the military also breached this time limit.

In its response to the petition, the state representative announced that the start of construction of the new detention facility, intended to replace the  Etzion facility, was advanced to an earlier date, and that detention conditions were being improved. However, in an updating notice to the court, HaMoked presented evidence which showed that harsh holding conditions still existed in the temporary detention facilities. Given these conditions – which clearly fell short of the standards required at permanent incarceration facilities – HaMoked demanded that the detainees would not be kept in the temporary facilities beyond the eight day limit of the military-IPS arrangement. The State Attorney's Office insisted on the 21 day time limit, with an aim to shorten it further to the extent possible. In its decision of December 14, 2008, the court struck out the petition, and proclaimed that it was satisfied with the military's intention to shorten holding periods in these facilities. The court, however, urged the military to act for that purpose, especially since detainees in temporary facilities were denied the right to family visits.

HCJ 9169/07 - Taqatqa et al. v. Commander of the Army Forces in the West Bank Petition for Order Nisi
Petition to HCJ  |  9169/07  |  29.10.2007
HaMoked's petition regarding holding conditions and periods in its incarceration facilities. The Petitioners and others have been held at the Eztion facility for over 21 days, one of them for almost two months. HaMoked claims that the conditions at the facility are unacceptable and do not conform to the standards of international law: detainees report of overcrowding, shortages of food, hot wat...
In accordance with the request of the Court in the proceedings in HCJ 9169/07, HaMoked has filed an updating notification regarding holding conditions and duration in the military temporary detention facilities: In its update, HaMoked emphasizes that holding conditions in the temporary detention facilities must be improved substantially. The state should properly undertake to transfer detainees...
At a hearing held on 29 November 2007, the court criticized the behavior of the state and the military regarding the holding of detainees in incarceration facilities in the West Bank: In its petition HaMoked demanded that a clear procedure be published concerning the duration of time in which detainees may be held in temporary incarceration facilities. The petition also demanded that the milita...
HaMoked’s petition against the military which holds detainees in its detention facilities for long periods of time in unacceptable conditions: In the petition HaMoked demands the military publish a clear procedure regarding the maximum length of time for holding detainees in the temporary holding facilities under its jurisdiction, while breaching both Israeli and international law regarding con... (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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