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Follow-up to previously transmitted communications
46. By letter dated 21 October 2003, the Government provided information concerning a joint urgent appeal sent on 7 May 2002 with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers concerning three Jewish detainees (E/CN.4/2003/68/Add.1, para. 744). The Government reported that the persons in question were members of a terrorist cell, indicted by the Jerusalem District Court for their involvement in, among other things, placing a cart containing explosives in East Jerusalem on 29 April 2002. No allegations had been made concerning ill-treatment of the detainees at any stage. On 17 September 2003, the persons in question were convicted by the Jerusalem District Court and were found guilty of attempted murder and misuse of weapons. The Court has not yet determined their sentence.
47. By letter dated 27 June 2003, the Government provided information concerning a joint letter sent on 13 September 2002 with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders concerning Mustafa Barghouti (E/CN.4/2003/68/Add.1, para. 737). The Government reported that an extensive investigation was conducted by the Ministry of Justice, Department of Investigation of Police Misconduct, into the allegations regarding Dr. Barghouti. It concluded that there was insufficient evidence to justify criminal proceedings against the police officers in question due to, among other things, the lack of cooperation with the investigation on the part of Dr. Barghouti and his attorney. He was entitled to submit an appeal to the State Attorney within 30 days of the receipt of the letter informing him of the decision, but no such appeal was submitted.
48. By letter dated 16 June 2003, the Government provided information concerning a joint urgent appeal sent on 2 December 2002 with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights defenders concerning Abed Rahman Al-Ahmar (E/CN.4/2003/68/Add.1, para. 750). The Government reported that he is being held in administrative detention at the Ofer detention facility. The facility has a permanent medical staff, whom Mr. Al-Ahmar is entitled to approach with regard to his medical needs. The conditions of detention in the Ofer facility were recently reviewed by Israel’s Supreme Court and were found to comply with the applicable standards of international humanitarian law. Israel is fully committed to guaranteeing human rights and the rule of law, including the rights of detainees. This obligation was clearly stated by the Supreme Court in its rulings regarding conditions of detention in Israeli detention centres: “Even those suspected of terrorist activity of the worst kind are entitled to conditions of detention which satisfy minimal standards of human treatment and ensure basic human necessities. Such is the duty of the commander of the area in accordance with international law, and such is his duty in accordance with the foundations of our administrative law. Such is the duty of the Israeli Government in accordance with its essential character, Jewish, democratic and fundamentally humane (HCJ 3278/02, 5591/02).” The Government reported that past judicial review and appeal hearings found that Mr. Al-Ahmar posed an imminent and significant danger to lives and threatens the security in the area. His claims to be a human rights activist were found to be a charade.
49. The Special Rapporteur notes with concern that the Government has not extended to him an invitation to visit Israel. A request for this invitation was reiterated in his letter dated 16 October 2003.
50. The Special Rapporteur considers it appropriate to draw attention to the concerns of the Human Rights Committee (CCPR/CO/78/ISR, paras. 13, 18), which stated that the use of prolonged detention without access to a lawyer or other persons from the outside world violates articles the Internatinal Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (arts. 7, 9, 10, and 14, para. 3 (b)); that interrogation techniques incompatible with article 7 of the Covenant are still reported frequently to be used; and the “necessity defence” argument, which is not recognized under the Covenant, is often invoked and used as a justification for ISA actions in the course of investigations.
51. The Special Rapporteur also notes that the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC/C/15/Add.195, para. 62) expressed concern that Military Orders Nos. 378 and 1500, as well as other military orders, may allow prolonged incommunicado detention of children and do not provide due process guarantees, access to legal assistance and family visits.