15 January 2023 |Reference 05/2023
On Wednesday, 11 January 2023, the Israeli District Court in Beersheba rejected a petition filed by Al Mezan on 11 September 2022 demanding to stop the use of plastic zip ties on Palestinian detainees. While dismissing Al Mezan’s petition, the Court argued that there is a need to strike a balance between the need to enforce discipline in prison during times of chaos and the need to ensure the safety of inmates. In addition, since Standing Order No. 04.15.00 of the Israeli Prison Service Commission (IPS) does not define the type of materials from which ties must be made, the Court does not believe that using plastic handcuffs is against the law and thereby dismissed the petition.
“The Israeli District Court's decision to dismiss our petition absolves the IPS of any responsibility and allows it to use any type of handcuffs, regardless of the harm they may cause to detainees. Restraining tools should not be used as punishment, and this is what IPS did when it suppressed a campaign last March in Nahfa Prison”, said Mervat Al Nahal, Al Mezan’s Legal Aid Coordinator.
As the legal representative of many Palestinians under Israeli custody, Al Mezan had already filed a complaint with the IPS Investigation Unit on 27 March 2022, following a crackdown campaign carried out in Nafha Prison, which included restraining many detainees were handcuffed with plastic zip ties for long hours, causing bleeding in their hands, severe pain, and psychological harm. However, having received no response to this complaint, Al Mezan submitted the petition as part of its efforts to defend the human rights of Palestinian prisoners and ensure compliance with international law by the Israeli authorities.
Notably, the Israeli authorities’ systematic and unjustified practices against Palestinian detainees—particularly administrative detention and medical neglect—violate international humanitarian and human rights law, the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (also known as the ‘Mandela Rules’) and constitute various forms of inhumane acts under the 1973 Apartheid Convention. Accordingly, Al Mezan calls on the international community to uphold its moral and legal obligations toward the Palestinian people, including detainees, and to take action to stop violations against Palestinian detainees under Israeli custody and ensure Israel’s compliance with international law.
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