Secret Prison Facility 1391

Detainees are blindfolded and kept in blackened cells, never told where they are, brutally interrogated and allowed no visitors of any kind. Dubbed ‘the Israeli Guantanamo’ it’s no wonder facility 1391 officially does not exist.<br/>

Aviv Lavie, Inside Israel's Secret Prison, Haaretz magazine 22.8.2003

Secret Prison Facility 1391: HCJ 9733/03 HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual v. The State of Israel (Judgment of January 20, 2011)

“Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants”, said American Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. Publicity is one of the main guarantees for good governance. This is one of the reasons why judicial hearings are held in open court. This is one of the reasons why democratic judicial systems detest secret detentions and secret prisons. Brandeis’ famous quote does not appear in the judgment of Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch in the matter of the secret prison referred to as 1391. However, questions about revealing and concealing are woven into the judgment throughout.

Torture in Secret Facility 1391: HCJ 11447/04 HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual v. State of Israel (Judgment of June 14, 2006)

In 2003, HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual filed a public petition against the very existence of a secret incarceration facility in Israel, Facility 1391, located in a secret military base in central Israel. Testimonies gathered by HaMoked suggested that under the shroud of secrecy and in the absence of public and judicial scrutiny, detainees in the Facility were subjected to humiliating and inhuman holding conditions and to unacceptable interrogation methods amounting to torture.

HCJ 9733/03 HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual v. State of Israel et al. Request to Respond to Respondents’ Response to Petitioner’s request for Submission of Document

HaMoked’s response to the state’s objection to the submission of the concluding observations of the UN Committee against Torture regarding Facility 1391 to the petition filed against it. HaMoked is bewildered by the state’s claim regarding irrelevance when the committee’s sessions addressed the exact subject matter of the petition. HaMoked stresses that the state’s representatives who were present at the committee sessions were given the appropriate venue to voice their position.

HCJ 9733/03 HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual v. State of Israel et al. Response on behalf of the Respondents to Petitioner’s request for Submission of Document

The state’s response to HaMoked’s request to submit the concluding observations of the UN Committee against Torture regarding Facility 1391 to the pending petition it filed against it. In a conceited and disrespectful response, the state objects to the submission of the document and oddly claims, inter alia, that the information HaMoked seeks to add is irrelevant to the petition as the committee made only superficial reference to the secret prison and the state’s position was heard by it in a very limited manner. The state also vehemently denies that the facility is a secret prison.

HCJ 11447/04 HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the
Individual et al. v. The Attorney General et al.
Judgment

In a short judgment, the High Court of Justice denied two petitions against the decision not to investigate thoroughly complaints of Palestinians who were tortured and held in inhuman conditions during their interrogation in Facility 1391. Despite the severity of the acts, allegedly conducted in a secret and unsupervised facility, and notwithstanding other testimonies describing similar acts, the justices decided not to interfere with the respondents' discretion and not to examine seriously and profoundly the contentions raised in the petitions.

HCJ 8102/03, 9733/03 - MK Zahava Galon et al. v. Minister of Defense et al. Decision

In a hearing on HaMoked’s petition against maintaining a secret detention facility, and on the petition of MK Zahava Galon to enable her to visit the facility, the justices criticized the state’s position that there was nothing wrong in holding detainees in a place that is kept secret. In the confidential part of the hearing, the court suggested to the state a number of ways to solve the problem. The state was to examine the suggestions and respond to the court within two months.

HCJ 9733/03 - HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual v. The State of Israel et al.
Provision of Additional Particulars

The state gave HaMoked additional details that it was obligated to provide in accordance with the decision of the registrar of the Supreme Court. The figures on the number of detainees in the secret facility and the time they were held there related to the years 1993 and thereafter, according to which, at the beginning of this period, the number of detainees held in the facility was higher than in later years. Also, the period of time that each detainee was held was longer in the early years.

HCJ 8696/02 - Shahin et al. v. IDF Commander in the West Bank Supplemental Response on behalf of the Respondent

The respondent contends that on the day that the petitioner’s detention was extended, he was in the Kishon detention facility, and that he was then transferred for detention to the Rosh Pinna Police department. Therefore, the petition was moot and should be rejected. The respondent does not mention where the petitioner was held prior to the extension of his detention.

HCJ 8696/02 - Shahin et al. v. IDF Commander in the West Bank Application for Order Nisi

Application to the court to order the respondent to inform the petitioner’s family where he is being held. In the respondent’s answer to the petition, he stated only that the family should contact a person at the Kishon detention facility, but did not state where the petitioner was being held. Furthermore, when HaMoked spoke with that person, they were told that the petitioner was being held in a secret facility that was a part of Kishon, but that the petitioner is not on the list of persons held there. Thus, the respondent is hiding the petitioner’s place of detention from his family.

J. Flint, "The ‘Honolulu’ Obeid and Dirani leave", The Daily Star 29.1.04

Article dealing with Facility 1391, its disclosure to the public following petitions filed by HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, the cases of Obeid and Dirani, who were imprisoned in the facility, the compensation claim filed by Dirani against Israel for torturing him during interrogation, and the activity of Unit 504, of Israeli intelligence, in abducting Lebanese civilians and holding them as bargaining chips.

D. Ephron, "Secrets of Unit 1391 - Uncovering an Israeli jail that specializes in nightmares", Newsweek 28.6.04

Magazine article that deals with Facility 1391 and the interrogation methods and torture used there, and expands on the use of psychological pressure. It also describes the accidental discovery of the facility by the historian Gad Kroizer during his research on police fortresses established in the Land of Israel during the British mandate, and the military censor’s charges against the editor who published Kreuzer’s article without first clearing it with the censor.

J. Cook, "Facility 1391: Israel's Guantanamo", Counterpunch 12.11.03

Article comparing Facility 1391 and the x-ray base at Guantanamo, where Taliban and Al-Qaeda members are being held by the US, and argues that, at Facility 1391, although less famous, breaches of international law are graver than at Guantanamo. The article describes the exposure of the facility in petitions filed by HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, discusses the torture used in the facility, and raises the question whether Israel has more than one secret prison.

D. Baron, "What goes on in secret jail facility? Rights groups accuse Israel of torture", JTA 15.4.04

Article reporting on the existence of Facility 1391 and on the petition filed by HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual regarding the facility (HCJ 9733/03). The article also discusses the imprisonment of Mustafa Dirani in the facility and the torture that took place there, some by the interrogator nicknamed George.

Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances

The declaration states, inter alia, that a state shall not allow, in any situation, enforced disappearance, and defines such action as a criminal offense; that a person whose freedom is taken from him shall be held in a declared detention facility; that information on his detention and on the place where he is being held shall be provided to his relatives or attorney; that the detention of all detainees in the country shall be monitored, and that relevant information on the detention shall be provided to all appropriate persons. From the University of Minnesota Human Rights Library website.

Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment

The principles state, inter alia, that a person held in prison or detention of any kind shall not be exposed to any type of torture or degrading treatment; and that the reason and period of time that he is to be held in detention, the timing of the judicial or other review, identity of the relevant detaining body, and place of detention shall be documented and provided to the detainee himself or to his attorney. From the University of Minnesota Human Rights Library website.