The Israeli occupation authorities renewed a gag order on the cases of several detainees under interrogation for another month. The renewed gag order is until 10 November 2019. Yesterday, 10 October 2019, the Magistrate Court in Jerusalem approved the Israeli intelligence unit’s petition to renew the gag order for the entire requested period, banning the publication of any details regarding the detainees’ cases. The hearing was only held with one party (the Israeli intelligence unit) and barred the detainees’ legal representatives, denying them from the basic right to repeal the gag order. It should be noted that the defense team was also excluded from court proceedings in the initial gag order hearing on 10 September 2019, which put in place a one-month gag order that expired on 10 October 2019. Despite the gag order, Israeli media and the Israeli intelligence department have continuously published information to the public about the cases. This inconsistent enforcement of the gag order, in which Israeli sources have exercised freedom to publish, can only be understood as a way to influence public opinion, particularly as the detainees have yet to be charged.
Addameer expresses serious concern for the well-being and health of the detainees mentioned in the gag order, some of whom have been detained since late August, as many have also been banned from counsel with their lawyers. For the detainees Addameer has been allowed to visit, we have documented severe instances of physical torture and ill-treatment throughout their detention and interrogation. Addameer is concerned of the widespread torture of all of the detainees under the gag order. Furthermore, the ban of lawyer’s visits and counsel for those detainees is yet another instance of the systematic violations of the right to a fair trial as enshrined under international law.
Addameer emphasizes that the gag order is an attempt to cover up grave human rights violations inflicted on Palestinian prisoners by their interrogators and also on the prisoner’s family members since they have been used as a tool to pressure the prisoners during this period. Furthermore, the gag order is a violation of the basic rights of the prisoner, their family and their lawyer in having access to information.