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Israeli human rights organizations in a petition to the HCJ: the temporary order exempting the police and the Israel Security Agency from audiovisual recording of interrogations of Palestinian detainees must be cancelled

The Israeli Criminal Procedure (Interrogation of Suspects) Law, 2002, obligates the audiovisual recording of interrogations into serious offences punishable by a prison term of ten years or more. However, under Section 17 of the Law, established as a temporary order in 2002, the obligation to thus document an interrogation of a suspect does not apply to security offences, regardless of their corresponding penalties. This temporary order was initially established for a period of five years from the Law’s day of commencement, but it has since been extended three times – recently until January 4, 2017.

On July 19, 2015, Adalah and six other human rights organizations, including HaMoked, petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to revoke the sweeping exemption from the duty of audiovisual recording in interrogation of “security” suspects. The organizations assert that the non-recording of interrogations by the Police and the ISA infringes on the accused’s right to due process, as it prevents them from proving that prohibited interrogation methods were used during their interrogation, and thus have the court invalidate their forced confessions. The organizations explained that in applying the exemption only on interrogations into ostensibly security offences, means that the absolute majority of those harmed thereby, are Palestinians; therefore, the distinction between the two groups of interrogees – criminal and security-related – infringes on the principle of equality before the law, and moreover, constitutes indirect discrimination.

Finally, the organizations note that this exemption is added to the other infractions of the detainees’ rights, such as the ability to prevent detainees from meeting with their lawyer for up to 21 days, and extend the detention in remand proceedings without the presence of the detainee. All these join to create a unique situation where the suspect may find her/himself at the mercy of the interrogation authorities without any contact with the outside world, which might promote use of interrogation methods amounting to torture. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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