Briefing Note: Palestinian Prisoners’ RightsMarch 2011 This briefing note is being presented by Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights‐Israel and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Gaza) to the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which is holding its meeting on 7‐8 March 2011 in Vienna on the plight of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli prisons and detention facilities. It is also being presented to the EU Parliament Sub‐Committee on Human Rights in advance of its meeting on 15 March 2011 in Brussels on the question of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, and in particular Palestinian children.
The note provides a general overview of recent statistics and conditions of confinement of Palestinian prisoners in Israel; reviews six new Israeli Supreme Court decisions; notes a new harsh criminal procedure law for “security suspects” and a series of proposed bills known as the “Shalit laws”; and recent concluding observations and concerns of three UN human rights treaty bodies as well as the conclusions of the UN Fact‐Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (“the Goldstone Report”).1. Palestinian Political Prisoners – General OverviewAs of January 2011, 5640 Palestinian political prisoners, classified as “security prisoners” by Israel, were imprisoned in Israel, of which, 37 were women,1 3 were detained under the Incarceration of Illegal Combatants Law,2 and 187 were being held in administrative detention.3 213 Palestinian political prisoners were minors, including 30 between the ages of 12 and 15.4 Palestinian political prisoners and detainees incarcerated by Israel are subject to far harsher pre‐trial detention laws (e.g., the lengthy prohibition on meeting with lawyers), interrogations and conditions of confinement than other prisoners and detainees. Regarding Israel Security Agency (ISA) facilities, testimonies taken by several human 1 See relevant statistics on the website of the Women’s Organization for Political Prisoners: http://www.wofpp.org/hebrew/january11.html2 A fourth case of detention under the Incarceration of Illegal Combatants Law was documented by the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights in February 2011. It is not included in the statistics above, which covers the period to January 2011. 3 See B’Tselem’s statistical reports based on official data from the Israel Prison Service