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Israel/Occupied Territories: Fear of torture: 15 Palestinians

, رقم الوثيقة: MDE 15/043/1995

AI fears that 15 Palestinians, reportedly members of the Islamic opposition group Hamas, arrested on or around 20 December 1995 are at risk of being tortured during interrogation by the General Security Service (GSS).

EXTERNAL AI Index: MDE 15/43/95
UA 276/95 Fear of torture 21 December 1995
ISRAEL/OCCUPIED TERRITORIES15 Palestinians
Amnesty International fears that 15 Palestinians arrested on or around 20
December 1995 are at risk of being tortured during interrogation by the General
Security Service (GSS).
A military spokesman said that the 15 people, reportedly members of the Islamic
opposition group Hamas, were arrested near the northern West Bank town of
Tulkarim on suspicion of planning attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians.
Amnesty International has previously condemned arbitrary and deliberate
killings of civilians and has called on Hamas to respect basic principles of
humanitarian law and to refrain from any such attacks.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Amnesty International has long been concerned about the systematic use of
torture during interrogation of Palestinians, particularly those suspected
of security offences, by the GSS. The organization has repeatedly highlighted
the use of hooding, prolonged standing or sitting in painful positions, sleep
deprivation and confinement in closet-shaped rooms amongst other torture
methods. On 25 April 'Abd al-Samed Harizat, a suspected Hamas supporter, died
in hospital three days after he had been arrested. Pathologists who performed
a post-mortem examination of the victim reported that he had died from having
been shaken violently, a method of torture reported by many detainees. Since
then, the Israeli government has officially announced that violent shaking
has been used against suspected members of Hamas believed to be planning attacks
against Israelis.
Since 1987, interrogations by the GSS have been regulated by secret guidelines,
which allow "a moderate measure of physical pressure". Since October 1994,
after a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, these guidelines were amended by a
ministerial committee to allow increased physical pressure to be applied to
those under interrogation. Amnesty International considers that Israeli
interrogation guidelines allow the use of torture and ill-treatment to take
place within the law.
The Israeli government has responded to Amnesty International's concerns by
saying that all complaints received are investigated by a special department
in the Ministry of Justice under direct supervision of the State Attorney.
The Ministry of Justice states in a letter dated July 16 1995 that: "Where
it is found that a deviation from the guidelines has occurred, criminal or
disciplinary action is taken against those found responsible." However, this
does not answer Amnesty International's concern that the guidelines themselves
allow the use of torture and ill-treatment (such as shaking). In order to
address fully the concerns of Amnesty International, the Israeli government
must review the guidelines themselves.
The United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and Article 7 of the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights, both of which Israel has ratified, forbids
unconditionally the use of any form of torture, or ill-treatment. Under these
treaties no justification may be used to derogate from a State Party's
obligations in this respect.
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RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in English, French, Hebrew or your own language:
- urging the Israeli authorities to ensure that the 15 arrested on or around
20 December 1995 are not subjected to torture or ill-treatment;
- asking the Israeli government to ensure that all interrogation guidelines
are fully consistent with the international absolute prohibition of torture
and ill-treatment;
- reminding the Israeli Government that, as a state party to the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and
Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, it has an obligation
to ensure that no one under Israeli jurisdiction is subjected to torture or
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and that no justification
may be used to derogate from these obligations;
- stating that while Amnesty International in no way disputes the right of
governments to bring to justice those who have committed criminal acts, torture
of anyone is outlawed by international standards. For example, Article 2 of
the UN Convention against Torture, to which Israel is a state party, states
that "no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or threat
of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be
invoked as a justification of torture".
APPEALS TO:
1. Shimon Peres
Prime Minister,
Office of the Prime Minister
3 Kaplan Street, Jerusalem 91919, Israel
Telegrams: Prime Minister Peres, Jerusalem, Israel
Telexes: 25279 mpres il
Faxes: +972 2 664 838
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
2. David Liba'i
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
29 Salah al-Din Street, Jerusalem 91029, Israel
Telegrams: Justice Minister, Jerusalem, Israel
Faxes: +972 2 285 438
Salutation: Dear Minister
3. Yossi Sarid
Minister of the Environment
Ministry of the Environment
PO Box 6234, 2 Kaplan Street
Jerusalem 91061, Israel
Telegrams: Environment Minister, Jerusalem, Israel
Faxes: +972 2 6513 945
Salutation: Dear Minister
4. Moshe Shahal
Minister for Internal Security
Ministry of Internal Security
PO Box 18182, 3 Sheikh Jarrah
Kiryat Hamemshala, Jerusalem 91181, Israel
Faxes: +972 2 826 769
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Telegrams: Internal Security Minister, Jerusalem, Israel
Salutation: Dear Minister
COPIES TO:
Yossi Beilin
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office
Office of the Prime Minister
3 Kaplan Street
Jerusalem 91919, Israel
Faxes: +972 2 664 838
Judge Michael Ben-Yair
Legal Advisor to the Government
Ministry of Justice
29 Salah al-Din Street
Jerusalem 91029, Israel
Faxes: +972 2 285 438
and to diplomatic representatives of Israel and the Occupied Territories
accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 1 February 1996.

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