Israel: New Holding Cells are Being Built
Following a Petition Filed by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI)
New Holding Cells are Being Built Adjacent to the Ofer Camp Military Courts
Following a petition filed by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) to the High court of Justice, the State announced this week that it has begun building a new detention complex next to the Ofer Camp military courts (near Ramallah) that will replace the present facility. According to the state, the new facility "will be built with high standards, and an emphasis on the quality of the conditions of detention of those being held in the cells", and that the construction is expected to be completed in six months.
The State also said that efforts will also be made in the beginning of 2010 to find a solution to the harsh detention conditions in a similar facility at the Salem Camp (near Jenin) through the appointment of an expert in air conditioning and ventilation.
The petition was filed in November 2007 on behalf of a number of Palestinian detainees, Attorney Fares Abu Hassan who represents many detainees, and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) against the appalling conditions of detention in the holding cells adjacent to the military courts in the Ofer and Salem military courts. Detainees awaiting legal proceedings at the courts are held in these cells in crowded, noisy conditions, without free access to toilets and drinking water, and are exposed to extreme weather conditions in both winter and summer. Food is not provided regularly and there is no ventilation.
Attorney Bana Shoughry-Badarne, director of
PCATI's legal department, expressed her hope that the
construction that has begun will bring about a substantial
improvement of the conditions of detention in these holding
cells and stated that this is the first significant step on
the path to the realization of appropriate conditions of
detention for all Palestinian detainees being held by
In spite of this, PCATI regrets that ensuring basic conditions of detention necessitates the submission of petitions and long legal processes.