Petition: Ban Shin Bet's use of shackling in interrogations
Following publication of in-depth report, Israeli human rights group demands High Court prohibit use of 'degrading' interrogation methods, order publication of clear guidelines for use of 'means of restraint that do not cause pain or suffering'
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) petitioned the High Court of Justice on Sunday demanding that it order the Shin Bet to refrain from using shackling as an interrogation tool and, particularly, to refrain from shackling detainees in "degrading positions or in positions that cause pain, suffering, or that constitute torture".
The petition was lodged on the heels of a report published by the Committee last week, according to which various authorities in Israel – led by the Shin Bet and Israel Defense Forces – shackle detainees "in painful ways that amount to torture and ill treatment, in violation of Israeli law, basic moral principles and international law."
The report presented a long line of testimonies from Palestinian detainees who were shackled by soldiers, Shin Bet agents and at times prison guards. Many detainees, the report claimed, suffer from painful shackling at various stages during arrest, detention and interrogation and even while being transferred for medical treatment.
"Painful shackling is done for invalid and irrelevant reasons, which include causing pain and suffering, punishment, intimidation, and illegally eliciting information and confessions," said the report.
In its petition, the PCATI demanded that the court prohibit the use of certain interrogation methods, including: The shackling of detainees on the upper arms or forearms ("high shackling"), the shackling of detainees behind the back, or restraining the hands of the detainee on the armrests of the chair in a way that does not allow for movement ("routine shackling").
It further called on the court to order the formulation and publication of clear guidelines for the use of "means of restraint in a way that does not cause those who are interrogated pain or suffering, that defines permissible forms of restraint, and also defines the frequency and extent of time they may be used."