Following HaMoked's petition to the HCJ to instruct the Israel Prison Service to improve the inadequate holding conditions at the Petah Tikva detention facility: the State Attorney's Office has notified that the facility is undergoing renovation
In October 2011, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice
(HCJ) to order the Israel Prison Service (IPS) to improve the holding conditions in the detention facility in Petah Tikva. The petition was based on affidavits by some 100 Palestinians who were held in the facility in deplorable conditions, in filthy, foul-smelling tiny cells, without adequate ventilation, sunlight, basic sanitation, etc. HaMoked stressed that the conditions in the facility blatantly contravened the detainees' rights to proper and humane holding conditions, and contradict not only the minimum standards prescribed by international law
, but also those established in Israeli law
. HaMoked further argued that detention or imprisonment does not mean that an inmate's basic rights may be revoked, and the fact that prison walls restrict his freedom of movement, does not warrant his deprivation of other basic rights.
On July 24, 2012, after extended procrastination, the State Attorney's Office submitted its response
to the petition. Despite claiming that the conditions in the facility were not "inadequate", the State Attorney's Office informed that "at present" – nine months after the petition filing – the detention facility was undergoing renovations, planned to include the installation of an air conditioning system in all lock up cells, sanitation repairs and refitting of sanitary fixtures. Therefore, and given the fact that until the end of renovations, detainees will not be held in the facility, the State Attorney's Office asserted that the petition was irrelevant and should be struck out. Conversely, it requested the court's permission to submit a detailed response to the petition by January 2013, upon the stated "end of renovations".
HaMoked welcomes the decision to renovate the Petah Tikva detention facility, although it only came about following the petition. HaMoked, however, points out that the state's notice on renovations is general and only partially relates to the various problems in the facility, detailed in the petition. HaMoked insists the petition should not be struck out
, and requests a detailed response to it in January 2013. Hopefully, by then, the renovations will be over, and the IPS will improve the holding conditions according to the standards set by Israeli and international law.