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A Palestinian detainee went missing: despite the urgency, Justice Hendel gives the state ten whole days to respond to the habeas corpus petition

The military is duty-bound to notify families of detainees without delay about the fact of the arrest and the detainee’s whereabouts – thus under military legislation, according to the state’s undertaking before the High Court of Justice (HCJ), as well as under international law. But the military does not uphold this duty, and it is HaMoked who traces thousands of Palestinian detainees every year, notifying their families where they are being held. Sometimes, when the detainee goes missing, and the state fails to locate him within reasonable time, HaMoked has no choice but to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus to the High Court of Justice (HCJ). This type of petition requires the state to relate whether the person is in its custody, and if so, where. Naturally, this is an urgent petition, given the fact that with each passing moment, the detainee’s rights are undermined, leaving him powerless to protect his interests on his own.

On May 22, 2017, HaMoked submitted the HCJ a habeas corpus petition on behalf of a 21 year old Palestinian from Askar, Nablus District, who had been arrested by the military five days earlier and could not be traced since then. HaMoked asked the court to set an urgent hearing and order the state to disclose the youth’s whereabouts.

Despite the obvious urgency, and although the HCJ usually orders the state to respond within a day to such petitions, Justice Hendel instructed the state to submit its response until June 1, 2017 – up to ten days from the time the petition was submitted. Justice Hendel issued a similar decision in another habeas corpus petition HaMoked filed that day on behalf of another untraced detainee.

That same day, the state disclosed the whereabouts of both detainees, and their families were thus spared the agony of waiting for days to know the fate of their loved ones. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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