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The Knesset entrenches the law exempting the Israel Police and the Israel Security Agency from the audiovisual recording of interrogations of suspects in “security” offences, and thus perpetuates another opening for torture in Israeli interrogation rooms

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. But under Section 17 of the Law – established as a temporary order until recently – the obligation does not apply to interrogations into so called “security” offences.

Following the fourth extension of the temporary order in 2015, Adalah, HaMoked and other human rights organizations petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) on July 19, 2015, and argued that the non-recording of interrogations by the police and the ISA left a significant opening for the use of illicit interrogation methods, by preventing interrogees from proving their claims about abuse and torture. The organizations also asserted that applying the exemption only on interrogations into ostensibly security offences, meant that the absolute majority of those harmed thereby, were Palestinians.

On December 12, 2016, shortly before the temporary order expired, the Knesset enacted the exemption from audiovisual recording of interrogations of suspects in “security” designated offences, with just an abstract stipulation that "random inspections and supervision of these interrogations are to be carried out, according to internal procedures of the Israel Police…". The provisions of the law do not meet the Turkel Commission recommendation for full visual recording of interrogations.

In its judgment of January 15, 2017, the HCJ noted that there is substance to the arguments about constitutional problems attending the temporary order, but as it had now become a permanent statute, it cannot be considered in the present framework. The court ordered the petition’s deletion, preserving the petitioners’ arguments. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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