On 21 August 2006, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice for an order for habeas corpus in the matter of detainees whom Israel abducted during the hostilities in Lebanon that month. The petitioners demanded to know the legal grounds on which they were taken and held in Israel. The basic right of detainees to know this information enables them to exercise other rights – to be represented by counsel, to challenge the conditions in which they are being held, to demand their release, to know which legal proceeding to take. Their families also have the right to know what happened to them, where they are being held, and why.
The petitioners were interrogated for many hours in an unknown facility, and there is reason to believe it was Facility 1391. They were subsequently taken to Gilboa Prison. Petitioners were asked if they are militant activists or are involved in any political activity. They absolutely denied any such involvement. Except for one, all of the petitioners are from the same family. It appears that the reason for the detention was the first petitioner's name, which raised the suspicion that the family was related to the Hizbullah leader, Hassan Nasrallah. In fact, there is no family relation between the two.
The petition raised the concern that the Lebanese men were being held in Israel as bargaining chips for a future exchange of captives. On this issue, the High Court has ruled that a democratic country is bound also by the principles of international law, and cannot accept a situation in which the obvious purpose of detaining persons is to turn them into "hostages."
On 22 August 2006, the state announced that, the day before, the petitioners had been transferred to Lebanon. The state claimed that the action took place prior to the service of the petition on the State Attorney's Office. The state requested, therefore, that the petition be summarily dismissed.
For the petition (in Hebrew), click here.
For the state's announcement (in Hebrew), click here.