Better late than never: two years after the pledged completion date, the state informed the court – in response to HaMoked's petition – that the Israel Prison Service had completed the renovation works undertaken to improve the holding conditions at the Petah Tikva detention facility המוקד להגנת הפרט
25.12.2014
Better late than never: two years after the pledged completion date, the state informed the court – in response to HaMoked's petition – that the Israel Prison Service had completed the renovation works undertaken to improve the holding conditions at the Petah Tikva detention facility
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HaMoked has been acting for over three years to have the holding conditions at the Petah Tikva detention facility improved.

In October 2011, HaMoked filed a petition on this issue to the High Court of Justice (HCJ), based on affidavits by some 100 Palestinians who had been held in the facility in deplorable conditions, in filthy, foul-smelling small cells, without adequate ventilation, daylight or basic sanitation. HaMoked stressed that the conditions at the facility blatantly violated the detainees' rights to proper and humane holding conditions and that they contradicted the minimum standards prescribed by international law as well as those established in Israeli law and regulations.

On July 24, 2012, after lengthy 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 was filed – the detention facility was undergoing renovations; therefore, and given the fact that detainees would not be held there until the end of renovations, the State Attorney's Office held that the petition was irrelevant and should be struck out. The court permitted the state to submit a detailed response to the petition by January 2013, the guaranteed completion date of the renovation.

HaMoked welcomed the renovation decision, and expressed its hope that the renovations would be swiftly completed and improve the conditions at the facility to conform to the standards established in Israeli and international law.

However, at the designated completion date, the Israel Prison Service (IPS) did not submit an updating notice to the HCJ. Only after repeated extension requests, the state submitted its updating notice on December 4, 2014 – almost two years after the original completion date it had promised.

In the notice, the state declared that during 2012-2013, the IPS had completed the renovation works at the detention facility, at a cost of approximately nine million ILS. As part of the renovations, the air conditioning system was replaced in all lock up cells and interrogation rooms; the electrical wiring in the cells system was replaced; toilets, showers and new plumbing were installed in the cells, as well as partitions separating the toilet area from the rest of the cell. The state appended two inspection reports composed following visits at the facility by representatives of the Ministry of Justice and the State Attorney's Office; according to the reports, between the first visit, in September 2013, and the second, in July 2014, the conditions at the facility had improved dramatically.

In its response, HaMoked insisted that official inspection tours should be held annually at the facility to monitor holding conditions there. HaMoked also requested the court to instruct the IPS to diligently transfer interrogees to "regular" detention facilities as soon as their interrogation is over.
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