Rights groups demand A-G shelve riot control measures

Civil rights advocates say emergency measures violate human rights, include holding suspects for 48 hours before remand hearing.

September 21, 2011 04:49
1 minute read.
Israel Police prepare for riots

Riot Police 311. (photo credit: Israel Police)


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Attorneys at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel asked Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein on Tuesday to shelve Public Security Ministry plans for emergency measures giving police additional authority to deal with rioters ahead of the planned Palestinian statehood bid at the UN.

The Justice Ministry told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that the deputy attorney-general for criminal matters intends to examine the emergency measures with senior officials.

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According to reports, the emergency measures could include holding suspects detained after violent disturbances for 48 hours rather than 24 hours before having to bring them before a judge for a remand hearing.

It would also be possible for police to delay bringing suspects who are minors before a judge to 48 hours instead of the current 12 hours.

Police could also be allowed to detain suspects not under arrest for nine hours instead of the current three, and detainees would be permitted access to an attorney only 48 hours after arrest rather than as soon as possible.

Attorney Dan Yakir, legal adviser to the ACRI, slammed the proposals as potentially leading to human rights violations.

Ministers can enact such regulations because the country is in a state of emergency, which has remained in force ever since 1948.

A 1999 High Court of Justice appeal to cancel the state of emergency is still pending.

“As per a High Court ruling, emergency regulations can only be used in a real emergency, where the state’s existence is under threat and the Knesset cannot be convened to legislate,” said Yakir. “This is certainly not the case in September, even in the worst case scenario.”

Attorney Lila Margalit, the ACRI’s Coordinator of Human Rights in the Criminal Process, said the proposals could harm detainees’ fundamental constitutional rights.

“The police have got a green light from the government to make arbitrary mass arrests and collectively deny the rights of detainees,” Margalit said. “The law enforcement system should prepare the appropriate authorities to deal with disturbances without surrendering those basic rights designed to defend us against false arrest.”

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