Improving Conditions for Police Detainees

2 August 2023

After the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) filed a petition last year, the Israeli authorities have pledged to improve the dire conditions for police detainees. The petition demanded that the police end the flagrant violation of the rights of detainees, many of whom were arrested during the anti-judicial reform demonstrations. The detainees were denied acceptable living conditions. Some were forced to sleep on the floor in overcrowded jail cells without continuous access to a bathroom, showers, or medical treatment. They were not given a hot meal, nor was a walk in the open air made available to them.

These conditions constitute cruel, inhuman, and humiliating punishment for detainees who have not yet been charged. These conditions violate the most basic, fundamental rights—to dignity, health, privacy, and due process. 

ACRI said in the petition that keeping detainees in holding cells at police stations, which are equipped with nothing but a concrete or iron bench, for more than a few hours is prohibited by law, and ACRI demanded that the police and the Israeli authorities simply follow the requirements of the law.

The authorities responded that “There is no legal dispute between the petitioner and the respondents regarding the obligation to hold detainees in a manner that allows their full rights to be exercised in accordance with the law,” and pledged to improve the conditions.  Only then did ACRI agree to drop the petition.