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Israel Prison Service Admits to Violation of the Law

prisonOn Wednesday 24 Tishrei the Israel Prison Service transferred Meir Ettinger and Aviatar Slonim, both administrative detainees, to solitary confinement in the Eshel Prison. In a deliberation at the Central District Court in Lod on Sunday, 28 Tishrei, a representative of the Attorney General’s office admitted that the transfer was illegal.

During the deliberation over which Judge Avraham Tal presided, a representative of the Attorney General’s office presented new administrative detention orders which the Defense Minister had signed on Thursday, October 8, one day after the two detainees had been transferred to solitary confinement. The new orders were meant to retroactively authorize the procedure, however the Prison Service did admit that the transfer had been carried out without authorization, in violation of the law.

“The transfer of the petitioners was carried out, erroneously, in the absence of a new detention order signed by the Defense Minister,” wrote a representative of the Attorney General’s office in response to the petition filed by Honenu. However the demand stated in the petition has still not been met because, according to the Attorney General’s office, “In light of the existence of the current order, it appears that the petition has been rendered redundant.”

Honenu attorney Adi Kedar, who is representing the two administrative detainees, pleaded during the deliberation that their transfer to solitary confinement was carried out without authority and in violation of the law. Kedar also mentioned that there is no cause for increasing the severity of their remand conditions.

Mordechai Meyer, also an administrative detainee, was not transferred since at the demand of a petition filed by Kedar, Judge Tal issued an order delaying carrying out the transfer order.

Ettinger, who was transferred to solitary confinement and is not allowed to make phone calls, started a hunger strike and stated that he would stop the strike when he is allowed to speak to his wife.

At the end of the deliberation Judge Tal ruled that a decision will be given on Tuesday, 30 Tishrei. Judge Tal heard confidential information presented by the Attorney General’s office which was claimed to justify transferring the detainees from open wings, specifically open wings designated for religious prisoners, to solitary confinement in the Eshel Prison.

A deliberation took place on Eviatar Slonim’s case on Tuesday, 30 Tishrei at the Beersheva District Court.

Honenu attorney Adi Kedar stated that, “During the deliberation it turned out that the conduct of the Prison Service and the ISA (Israel Security Agency – Shin Bet) were much more serious than we had thought. Not only did the Defense Minister sign the order authorizing the transfer of the administrative detainees to harsh conditions in a prison in the south after the transfer had been carried out, but the transfer itself was completely illegal. The court covered up significant claims against the representatives of the Attorney General’s office. I hope that the ruling of the court will set matters straight.”

An additional detainee has joined Meir Ettinger’s hunger strike. Ephraim Hanchis, a Shomron resident detained on suspicion of making threats, and currently being held in remand in the Ayalon Prison until the end of proceedings against him, has started a hunger strike in solidarity with Ettinger.

Hanchis started a hunger strike on Thursday, 25 Tishrei, and shortly before the beginning of Shabbos was transferred to solitary confinement.

Honenu: “We demand that the violation of the rights of the Jewish administrative detainees be stopped immediately. It cannot be that detainees need to go on a hunger strike after such a serious violation of their rights, such as being placed in solitary confinement and not being able to make phone calls, without any cause.”

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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