Photo: Raanan Ben-Zur
Bargaining chips? (Illustration)
Photo: Raanan Ben-Zur

Rights group: Don't harm Hamas prisoners

Public Committee Against Torture says Israel cannot worsen security prisoners' conditions as leverage versus Hamas since it constitutes 'collective, unjust and illegal punishment'

The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) called on Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann and Attorney General Menachem Mazuz to dissolve the special governmental committee tasked with exploring possible infringements of Palestinian security prisoners, rights, calling any such move "collective, unjust and illegal punishment."


Prime Minister Ehud Olmert formed the committee Tuesday night, in light of the failed negotiations for the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.


Olmert tasked the committee with finding ways to match the conditions under which Palestinian security prisoners are held in Israel, to those Hamas is holding Shalit in, thus significantly worsening them.


Wednesday saw the PCATI demand that the Attorney General's Office and the Justice Ministry issue an unequivocal directive banning the use of prisoners as "bargaining chips." The group also demanded that Mazuz and Friedmann bar any form of collective punishment.


"The forming of this committee and the mere deliberation of this matter constitute a dangerous premise… Using prisoners as bargaining chips goes against moral values and international law, and against a Supreme Court ruling on the matter," noted the PCATI.


The group further urged Mazuz and Friedmann to "stop this snowball from sliding further down the slippery slope of violating prisoners' rights, before it gets out of hand and then – heaven knows what will come next."


פרסום ראשון: 03.18.09, 17:40
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