Security Prisoner
Security Detainee
Administrative Detainee
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The secret prison: HCJ petition 9733/03
9733/03 | 8102/03 | documents: 7  |  Updates: 8 For many years, a secret prison has been operating in the Israel. The prison is situated inside an unknown military base, hidden from public sight and insulated from legal scrutiny, without any way of knowing who are being held there, the prevailing conditions, and modes of interrogation practiced therein. The existence of the facility, known as Facility 1391, was revealed gradually during the course of two habeas corpus petitions filed by HaMoked to learn the location of Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territories who had disappeared. In response to the petitions, the state announced that the prison had been used by the Israel Security Agency as an interrogation facility longer. During the hearing on the petitions, it was revealed that the facility was being used by other (unidentified) agencies.

In October 2003, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice to have the facility shut down. The petition included a comprehensive review of the grounds for the requested relief, among them, the facility's hidden location, the degrading detention conditions and the interrogation methods therein, which breach express stipulations of Israeli law, international humanitarian law, and human rights law.

In its response of May 2004, the state claimed that, because the facility was located inside a secret military base, its location must be remain secret, and that this concealment was in no illegal or harmful to the detainees' rights, and neither did it warrant an order to shut down the facility. It was further claimed that the facility's detention conditions conformed to the legal requirements and that the interrogation methods practiced there were similar to those in other interrogation facilities, and, likewise, were in no way illegal.

In the hearing of December 2004, the court, criticizing the state's position that holding detainees in an undisclosed location was unproblematic, instructed the State Attorney's Office to notify the court about any use of the facility. The state was also directed to consider the court's suggestions regarding the usage of the facility. In August 2005, the State Attorney's Office announced that security officials had decided to setup an arrangement "which considerably limits the extent Facility 1391 is used for incarceration". HaMoked objected to the arrangement, asserting that it did not address any of the petition's core issues, and requested to proceed with the case.

In January 2006, at the conclusion of an additional hearing, the court ordered the state to present its reasons for keeping the facility's location secret. The court reiterated its decision of the first hearing, whereby, if  the facility is about to be used, the court must be advised of this in advance.

So far as is known, the facility was last used in 2006, during the second Lebanon war. At lease five Lebanese were held there, and following the conclusion of their interrogations, were moved to other detention facilities.

In January 2007, seven years after it was filed, the HCJ rejected HaMoked's petition and accepted an arrangement which Israel proposed to undertake. The arrangement considerably limited the facility's use for incarceration. By and large, its details remain classified; those cleared for publication stipulate, inter alia, that Israelis and OPT residents will not be kept there; detainees will be kept there for only "a limited and extremely brief duration"; incarceration therein requires prior approval of "high ranking" officials and a notice to the Attorney General.


Secret Prison Facility 1391: HCJ 9733/03 HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual v. The State of Israel (Judgment of January 20, 2011)
Criticism  |  9733/03  |  23.1.2011
Criticism
“Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants”, said American Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. Publicity is one of the main guarantees for good governance. This is one of the reasons why judicial hearings are held in open court. This is one of the reasons why democratic judicial systems detest secret detentions and secret prisons. Brandeis’ famous quote does not appear in the judgment ...
HCJ 9733/03 – HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual v. State of Israel et al. Judgment
Judgment / Supreme Court  |  9733/03  |  20.1.2011
Judgment in HaMoked's petition to order Israel to close down the secret prison, Facility 1391. The petition is dismissed. The justices accept the arrangement Israel has undertaken, substantively limiting use of Facility 1391 for the purpose of holding detainees. The details of the arrangement, mostly kept classified, determine, inter alia, that residents of Israel or the OPT will not be held in...
HCJ 8102/03, 9733/03 - MK Zahava Galon et al. v. Minister of Defense et al. Decision
Judgment / Supreme Court  |  8102/03  |  15.12.2004
In a hearing on HaMoked’s petition against maintaining a secret detention facility, and on the petition of MK Zahava Galon to enable her to visit the facility, the justices criticized the state’s position that there was nothing wrong in holding detainees in a place that is kept secret. In the confidential part of the hearing, the court suggested to the state a number of ways to solve the proble...
HCJ 9733/03 - HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual v. The State of Israel et al. Provision of Additional Particulars
Principal Correspondence  |  9733/03  |  2.12.2004
The state gave HaMoked additional details that it was obligated to provide in accordance with the decision of the registrar of the Supreme Court. The figures on the number of detainees in the secret facility and the time they were held there related to the years 1993 and thereafter, according to which, at the beginning of this period, the number of detainees held in the facility was higher than...
HCJ 9733/03 - HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual v. The State of Israel et al. Decision
Judgment / Supreme Court  |  9733/03  |  14.11.2004
The registrar of the Supreme Court ruled that the additional particulars the state must provide are limited to the number of detainees being held in Facility 1391 from the time it was established, the time each detainee was held there (without giving personal information about the detainees), and whether the existing procedures in the facility are identical or similar to those in other army fac...
HCJ 9733/03 - HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual v. State of Israel Decision
Judgment / Supreme Court  |  1.12.2003
The High Court of Justice issued an Order Nisi regarding the secrecy of the location of the Facility 1391. Regarding the contentions of HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual relating to the detention conditions in the facility and the interrogation methods used there, the Court held that the petitioner should first address its questions to the relevant authorities, and that it may r...
HCJ 9733/03 – HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual v. State of Israel et al. Response on behalf of the State Attorney’s Office
Statement  |  28.11.2003
The state contends that, based on the purpose of the relevant statute, it is not obligated to disclose the location of Facility 1391, and that keeping its location secret does not deny the detainees any of their rights. The state further contends that the facility is generally used for interrogation only, and not for incarceration; that over the past five years, only a very few detainees have ...
Updates
25.10.2016
Secret Detention Facility 1391: HaMoked files an application under the Freedom of Information Law for information concerning activity in the Facility
14.6.2012
State Attorney’s Office to HaMoked: No inmates in secret prison, Facility 1391, for “some time”
23.1.2011
After seven years, the HCJ rejects HaMoked's petition against secret prison 1391: the court creates a secret ruling, based on a classified "arrangement" and avoids directly addressing the issue of the facility's legality
23.6.2009
The HCJ gave the State an extension of 21 days to respond to HaMoked's request to attach the concluding observations of the UN Committee against Torture: In its concluding observations, the Committee demands operation of the facility cease and those responsible for the torture and ill-treatment of prisoners be brought to justice
25.5.2009
HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual requests to submit the concluding observations of the UN Committee against Torture as an exhibit in its petition regarding secret prison facility 1391: In the concluding observations, the Committee demands operation of the facility cease and those responsible for the torture and ill-treatment of prisoners be brought to justice
3.2.2009
Did Israel hold detainees from Gaza in the secret prison during the fighting? On 1 February 2009, HaMoked received the State Attorney's response to its enquiry
18.1.2006
HaMoked lodged a supplementary notice for the upcoming HCJ hearing of its petition to shut down the secret prison, Facility 1391: in the past the state admitted the secret prison exists and that it concealed it from the public, but claimed this to be legal. In its arguments, HaMoked stresses that Israel's demand to continue operating the secret prison blatantly contrasts the outright disavowal ...
15.12.2004
The Secret Prison: On 15 December 2004, the High Court of Justice held a hearing on the petition filed by HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual against the existence of a clandestine detention facility that is located in a secret army base and used for the interrogation of suspects. At the hearing, the justices criticized the state’s claim that it was permissible to hold detainees w...
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