HaMoked to the Attorney General: examine recurrent complaints over the use of prohibited interrogation methods by the ISA המוקד להגנת הפרט
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26.04.2015
HaMoked to the Attorney General: examine recurrent complaints over the use of prohibited interrogation methods by the ISA
HaMoked to the Attorney General: examine recurrent complaints over the use of prohibited interrogation methods by the ISA
The right not to be subjected to torture is an absolute right, valid in any situation and under all circumstances. In 1999, the High Court of Justice (HCJ) ruled that certain interrogation methods routinely used by the Israel Security Agency (ISA) amounted to torture, and this led to a significant decline in their usage. However, the court did not preclude the applicability of the "necessity exclusion" which under certain circumstances exonerates ISA interrogators from criminal liability for use of prohibited methods. The court's decision not to prohibit torture absolutely and unconditionally created, inter alia, a gray area for the operation of ISA interrogators, encompassing the use of inappropriate interrogation methods which amount to actual torture – even if not defined as such by the court.

On September 11, 2014, HaMoked, which for many years has been handling Palestinian detainees' complaints of torture, contacted the Deputy State Attorney and expressed concern that the high number of complaints over the use of prohibited interrogation methods indicated a widespread phenomenon in ISA interrogations. However, on December 25, 2014, a response arrived from the supervisor of the ISA interrogee-complaints inspector (the body charged with reviewing complaints by ISA interrogees), stating that she cannot address the question of widespread torture as HaMoked's letter did not concern a specific incident. No response arrived from the Deputy State Attorney.

As the issue of principle was disregarded, on April 20, 2015, HaMoked contacted the General Attorney and again specified the interrogation methods repeatedly mentioned in detainees' complaints: forced sitting on a deformed chair; prolonged painful shackling – including handcuffing to the detainee's bed in the holding cell; and the use of curses and threats during interrogation. HaMoked called on the General Attorney to examine whether these were routine interrogation methods of the ISA, and if so – to act immediately for the discontinuation of these illicit methods.
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The right not to be subjected to torture is an absolute right, valid in any situation and under all circumstances. In 1999, the High Court of Justice (HCJ) ruled that certain interrogation methods routinely used by the Israel Security Agency (ISA) amounted to torture, and this led to a significant decline in their usage. However, the court did not preclude the applicability of the "necessity exclusion" which under certain circumstances exonerates ISA interrogators from criminal liability for use of prohibited methods. The court's decision not to prohibit torture absolutely and unconditionally created, inter alia, a gray area for the operation of ISA interrogators, encompassing the use of inappropriate interrogation methods which amount to actual torture – even if not defined as such by the court.

On September 11, 2014, HaMoked, which for many years has been handling Palestinian detainees' complaints of torture, contacted the Deputy State Attorney and expressed concern that the high number of complaints over the use of prohibited interrogation methods indicated a widespread phenomenon in ISA interrogations. However, on December 25, 2014, a response arrived from the supervisor of the ISA interrogee-complaints inspector (the body charged with reviewing complaints by ISA interrogees), stating that she cannot address the question of widespread torture as HaMoked's letter did not concern a specific incident. No response arrived from the Deputy State Attorney.

As the issue of principle was disregarded, on April 20, 2015, HaMoked contacted the General Attorney and again specified the interrogation methods repeatedly mentioned in detainees' complaints: forced sitting on a deformed chair; prolonged painful shackling – including handcuffing to the detainee's bed in the holding cell; and the use of curses and threats during interrogation. HaMoked called on the General Attorney to examine whether these were routine interrogation methods of the ISA, and if so – to act immediately for the discontinuation of these illicit methods.
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