Written by Tamara Symonds
Supreme Court Overturns Torture Ruling
A victim of torture
Earlier this month, the Israeli Supreme Court accepted a petition from NIF grantee Hotline for Migrant Workers arguing that torture represented "exceptional humanitarian grounds" for releasing those jailed under the Anti-Infiltration Law from prison. The court ruled that holding torture victims in jail was liable to make their physical and emotional condition much worse, and that the authorities had to perform a detailed examination of detainees to see if they had suffered from torture while en route to Israel.
This decision overruled an earlier judgment from the Be'er Sheva District Court that victims of torture shouldn't be released from detention. It also overruled that court's outrageous argument that "recognition of torture as justifying freeing someone is liable to cause a widening of the phenomenon of torture and a deterioration and even the development of the phenomenon of self-harm by the infiltrators."
Many asylum seekers fleeing Eritrea and Sudan have been tortured in their home countries or en route to Israel.
Hotline's Sigal Rozen said in response: "We are pleased that the Supreme Court agreed with what was so clear - that it is obvious that the torture camp survivors will be harmed if they remain in indefinite detention." However, this is not the end of the story. The original petitioner is still in detention; checks now need to be carried out to assess who will be eligible for release. With the assistance of this ruling we hope to release around 250 torture survivors still detained under the Anti-Infiltration Law."